A Christmas Wish

It's after 11pm on Christmas night, the child is asleep, and I am up alone in a quiet house. This has been a challenging December at our house and it's not over yet.  Tom and I both had interviews for new jobs, neither of us got.  Abby was sick for her 8th birthday and we had to cancel her party.  Two dear friends at work have left the agency, one moved to a new and exciting job at another agency and one retired to an exciting home remodeling project.  Both will be sorely missed and whose absence leaves a gaping hole in our web team.  My church that I have been a member of for 24 years voted 213/176 to dismiss a much loved and controversial minister essentially splitting our church in two.  I am still vexed by this action and feel betrayed and broken-hearted.  As my family celebrated the arrival of my brother-in-law and his family visiting from Korea for the holidays, the part of my family that lives in Dallas was gathering to celebrate Christmas last night.  Unfortunately a freak accident as they were all leaving for their homes has left my aunt in intensive care in a Dallas hospital and my family reeling from the sudden randomness of the trauma inflicted on both my aunt and my nephew who was also injured.  They tell us that her injuries at this time are not life-threatening, but they are life-changing.  My nephew's truck rolled over both of them when the parking brake failed.  My aunt is 69 years old and has multiple fractures and lacerations and will likely be permanently disfigured on the left side of her face and head.  It is still too early to know much else for certain.  There is a lot of inflammation that needs to subside before they can consider surgery, so she is being sedated for now and we wait.  My husband Tom drove my mother to Dallas this morning.  He volunteered and had his bag packed 30 minutes after we got the call last night.  We celebrated Christmas today without them as they sat vigil in a hospital 200 miles north. 

Last December I lost a childhood friend to cancer and my father-in-law to a lung disease.  As painful as that December was, I am feeling almost as vulnerable this year.  Though I don't pray, it's not part of my religious practice, I understand some Unitarians do, I do have a Christmas Wish for my aunt Martha, a beloved aunt whom I am very close to, to heal quickly and allow her family who loves her to help her in any way that we can.  I also hope that my nephew who assumes too much responsibility for the accident will find peace in the fact that nobody was to blame and that we all love them both very much.  May the New Year bring healing for us all.


Giving Thanks

  1. Us I am thankful that my family is in good health
  2. I am thankful I have a job – I have lived through tough econimic times when I was not as securely employed (like the 1980's) and it makes a difference.
  3. I am thankful Tom got his degree and even though he still doesn't have a full time teaching contract yet, he is subbing regularly and get this…he doesn't hate it.  That's big.
  4. I am thankful for all my friends, whether they are local or distant or even whether I have ever met them in person or not, they make being a mere human being bearable.
  5. I am thankful that my mom lives nearby now and that she is involved in our lives and she is in a safer place.
  6. I am thankful for all the relatives that don't live near us, I just wish they did. (Hear that Martha, Laurie, Bart?)
  7. I am thankful that we we do not have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage on our home.  Boy, am I thankful.
  8. I am thankful that our cars keep running, most of the time, even though they are 10 years old.  If they can just hang in there a little longer.
  9. I am so very thankful that the next president of this country is a visionary, reasonable, uncommon man who I believe will save us all.
  10. I am thankful that the winters in Texas are not any worse than they are because I am convinced I would freeze to death if it was any colder for any longer.
  11. I am thankful for my husband, Tom because after ten years of marriage, even though he's a little surly sometimes and he would rather live in the city, he doesn't leave me and he is the best father I have ever known. Did I mention that he's been married to me for 10 years?  That's really big.
  12. I am thankful that my oldest daughter, Kandis has grown up to be a wonderful wife, mother, friend and daughter. I am also thankful that she found a wonderful husband, Rob and that they gave me a wonderful grandson, Cooper!

Now, let's all eat turkey and pie and take naps and shop (modestly).

Happy Thanksgiving!


Changing Priorities

I can't say when exactly things changed.  It may have been when I agreed to become the PTA Fundraising Chair.  It might have been when my mom moved down from Dallas to a house only about 10 miles away.  It might have been even farther back before I became a grandma, I just can't figure out when exactly my life changed, but it did and I haven't quite adjusted to it yet.  I really miss blogging.  I really miss me time.  I really miss lots of things I used to do and don't seem to have the time to do now and yet, I keep trying to do it all.  Which means I am doing most things in a very half-assed, scatter-brained sort of way.  My life is spread so impossibly thin between work, family and volunteering that there is less and less time I get to spend at my favorite passtimes. 

Changing Technology

I used to think that I had to have something craft related to talk about in order to bother with a blog post.  I got over that a bit, but then I got completly sucked up in Twitter because Twitter can provide that instant gratification that you can't get from regular blog posting. Twitter is impetuous and reactionary.  And it limits you to 140 characters.  It's been a real lesson in brevity. It's very "in the moment".  At least for me.  Anyway, I would truly be dangerous with a smart phone because at least for now, I can only Twitter from a computer, which I am almost always in front of.  So, lately I don't blog.  I Twitter.

Changing Sizes

Starsky_jr And there has been precious little knitting.  I started a sweater for Abby.  Starsky Jr in Cascade 220 Cranberry.  I got to the armholes on the back and held it up to her.  I don't know why I can't seem to keep up with this child's growth.  I measured her.  And made the smaller size.  Now it's too small and I have to rip and start the next size up.  The pattern is killing me.  I love cables and was thinking this would be like that and it's not.  I still love the design, but it's a lot harder than it looks.  Something like a 14 row repeat that is hard to read on the needles.  Anyway, I think I'm getting better at reading it and only refer to the chart every so often.  Also when I sit down to knit these days, it's just before bedtime or during debates (try debate watching while Twittering the drinking game AND knitting), so it's not real productive knitting time.  Now I'm ripping.  <sigh>

Changing Seasons

Dorothy I did manage to sew Abby's Halloween costume while she was at a Brownie Sleepover last weekend.  I think it's big enough for her to wear next year too.  We're still looking for a Toto stand-in for this gig.

The Daylight Savings thing begins again this weekend, so what that means to me is: short, dark days when I can't get a decent photograph of anything that I made.  It also means that it's winter. 

The Change

I started having hot flashes.  It took me a while to figure out what was happening.  I always thought it would be great to feel warmth instead of cold all the time.  But it's not like that at all.  It's like being really embarrassed.  It's not just warmth and it's not all over, it's just from the chest up and it's a discomfort – not horrible, but it gets your attention and it's hard to ignore.  But it passes.  My chiropractor tried to get me to take these Chinese herbs, she said something about my pancreas steaming.  As scientific as that sounded an all, I decided to pass for now and we'll just see how it goes.

Changes in Attitude

It's a really stressful time for lots of people, like those with money in the stock market or in real estate, or in retirement accounts, but I can't really get too worked up about that right now, maybe because there's not a damn thing I can do about it.  I am very excited about the prospect of a real change in the leadership of this country and I don't think much can spoil this optimism.  See, I don't dislike change, I embrace it.  Tomorrow I am voting, I have never voted early before.   I always liked the excitment of voting on Election Day, but I don't want to take ANY chances on something going wrong that day. I am really looking forward to Tuesday night TV.  I wonder if we have any champagne?

10 Years…in a row!

Wedding_day October 11, 1998 Tom and I were married in our back yard in Seguin, Texas, by the local Justice of the Peace.  Surrounded by our friends and family, it wasn't a flashy affair, but it was a lovely day and we were happy to share it with those we love.  I'd do it all again. 

A Day Off and a Flickr Meme

100_2357 Today is Juneteenth, so I have the day off. Slept till 7am and hiked the local state park before noon. Now we are safely home in the AC and I am planning to sew. In the park we saw this amazing family of Pileated woodpeckers tearing up a dead tree. They were large and unfazed by our presence. Bark was flying everywhere. I could not tell if one was a juvenile or not, they seemed the same size. Maybe these are the FLDS of the bird world since I don't think woodpeckers are gregarious. I don't have a good long lense on this point and shoot camera, but you can see two red heads and the profile of the third bird on the tree. Very cool birds!

100_2368 I have cut out a vintage dress pattern using vintage cotton fabric. The pattern is from about the mid-40's during the war I think. Those patterns always seem to have a distinctively solemn tone in the drawings on the envelope. 100_2369 The pattern is unprinted – just tissue paper cut to shape and some perforations to indicate where to put gathers and zippers (or "non-separable slide fastener" as the pattern says). Other than that, the construction is pretty much the same as modern patterns. I am using silk organza for interfacing and this dress has a self or matching fabric-covered belt with buckle and eyelets and all. I bought some hat buckram for stiffening the belt so that it is more authentic. It used to be sold on a roll in fabric stores in several belt widths when fabric covered belts were more widely popular. I did not find buttons yet that I thought worked with the fabric, so I might make covered buttons, still thinking about it. If I am lucky, I will finish this before the weekend.

I created Flickr mosaic for the Flickr Meme that's been going around. If you are interested in the image sources, you can check my Flickr page


Happy Juneteenth Y'all!

Sweet Caroline

Wcaroline My late friend, Caroline, arrived yesterday.  I knew she was coming.  I got a call from a friend of hers that I met the last time I saw her.  Caroline died on December 7th last year in Colorado. Her memorial service was May 17th, the day we left for Vermont for my Father-in-law's memorial – he died on New Year's Eve.  I had planned to make Caroline's send-off in Ouray until the plans were made for Tom's Dad.  I hated to miss hers.  But yesterday the package arrived; a program from her Memorial Celebration, a collection of her poems, a DVD she made about planning her own funeral while she was fighting cancer with every cell of her body, and a small double-bagged ziplock bag, wrapped in bubble wrap containing a gray-white powder, a small bit of the cremated remains of my childhood friend, entrusted to me to scatter or hold however I thought appropriate.  What a gift.  I think it says something about my friend that she so literally shared of herself.  She was a gift.  She absolutely lit up a room with her enthusiasm. 

For now, I will find a nice box to keep her in.  I don't know where to take her, our childhood camp is not really an option anymore.  I could take her to the Bamberger Ranch in Blanco County, which is the last place I saw her alive.  It was a wonderful day.  We hiked Enchanted Rock, as far as she could go, lunched in Fredericksburg and dropped in on the Bamberger's for an impromptu tour and spent the rest of the day.  It was beautiful and such fun.  She was on mega doses of steroids and had tons of energy, but she had pain from a radiation burn that affected her ability to get around.  She was positively manic and we had a blast.  She didn't sleep much on the steroids, there was too much she wanted to do – too many people she wanted to reconnect with.  I can't believe I let 30 years of my life go by without Caroline in it and I am so grateful that she found me again before she left the world.  It was Caroline who took me to my first concert, John Prine and Steve Goodman at the Majestic Theatre in Dallas.  I was 14, she was 16 so she could drive.  To this day I am a die-hard John Prine fan.  Caroline was in the car when I got my first ticket for speeding, 90 in a 70 on our way to camp the first weekend in May, I was 16.  I was so scared – it ruined the entire weekend for me because I dreaded facing my parents with the news.  I still remember it like yesterday.  I have yet to watch her dvd.  One day.

Frank_socks The summer is upon us in a big way, the temps are way too high for the season – we still have a month before the start of summer and we are closing in on triple digits.  The garden is rebelling.  I may get nothing until fall.  I am aching to buy an above ground pool so I can teach Abby to swim this year, but really can't afford it yet.  Abby's last day of school is today and we are making plans for her to have a fun summer.  There have been promises of a brief trip to the coast sometime.  Oh, and I made a pair of socks.  For my friend Frank who I have teased with my praise of the handknit sock.