The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Thanksgiving, the day, has come and gone and before we are way long past, I thought I might "try" to post some of my pictures which surrounded the holiday.

We had beautiful weather here, most especially for late November, but it was punishingly cold in a few places in the US, most notably for me, in DEN where flights out were canceled ... not to be rescheduled for several days. Three made it in on Friday. 
It's so good when they can make it home.

This is Oliver, a very sweet (and handsome) bobtailed  orange marmalade cat. He's been here a good bit and is totally chill with us.

No, thats not me! That's my husband and that's my dog ...
and that's superwoman (aka 4)!

My dad loved to make turkey and avocado tacos with the leftovers. I actually probably prefer that to the traditional meal. This year, V had the idea to attempt turkey taquitos. My parents, both great cooks, would be delighted to see their grands enjoying cooking so much as they do.
It's one of my favorite things to see them doing either separately or in combo.

special request bacon, biscuits and gravy
and the dog got the leftovers again
Thanks again to V for the flowers!

One, and Four's feet
(which were up on the coffee table a good bit this year
note worthy because she is not a good "rester" but she's getting more chill,
I like to see them relaxing when they are here.)

One brought the puzzle, we seem to be puzzle workers when they come home. pink check mark on the missing piece which coincidentally showed up laying on top of the puzzle once One checked back in a few days later ... hmmmmm. He knew we all (yes, there was some discussionthought him capable of sitting a piece off somewhere and I moved all the furniture around looking for it, and scolded my dog for his tabletop height dust brush tail swishing around everywhere, One, eyes dancing with his unique brand of delight, was quick to point out that the piece is actually in the picture I took and sent out for all to see. We laughed about that! Even better! Hidden in plain sight by serendipity.

I like to do the solid color pieces best. All of the pieces I found are either in the sky or that blasted tree where the temporally missing piece finally completed this one. It's neat to watch the activity around the puzzle.

Last Christmas, Two's significant other, who has been a part of the bigger us for several years now, observed that my five are like the Power Rangers, each pretty awesome as individuals, but completely a force to be reckoned with, potentially intimidating, when they join together as the Morphin MEGAZOID.  (that's cultural literacy check millennial 101)  I'm looking for a Power Ranger puzzle for next.

It's a lot of people. Seems normal to me, but may be a bit much at one time for some. 
Sometimes there's a bit of drama. All Five, plus 2sSO, will be in for a longer stay at Christmas so this was a sorta warm up. I am so excited ... and I may be getting better at hosting adult children. I'm realizing it's an art form. And they are the best parts of my heart.

BBQ lunch with Three

Three left his cap on little sister's desk.
He'll be back for it soon.  I like seeing their things around.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

This is Thanksgiving so far. Apples on the table for two pies, one blackberry apple double crust the other just apple but with half tart, half sweet, and vanilla ice cream with a hot buttered rum sauce. V brought the flowers when she came in  - she seems more grown up every time I see her! I had forgotten how turbulent the early twenties can seem ... she has a problem room mate  and a bestie who seems to be headed for trouble, derailed from a potentially brilliant career by a weird new boyfriend. Her insights were very comforting- I’m glad she knows what trouble looks like, but it’s sad that some things must be learned on ones own. She asked me to talk with the girl when she’s here at Christmas and I will if it seems right.
Those feet up on the table will multiply to a total of six pair this year. We are missing Two and her Sweetheart this year.

I am thankful for this time in my life. 60 has been great and I feel hopeful for good days ahead. It’s good to be healthy and at a low stress time.
Pictures from that hobby I picked up this year will be forth coming. I don’t think it has the staying power of a hobby, maybe a pastime.

I’m reading up on Enneagram  “stuff” lately. I don’t know really what I think of it yet but the popular characterizations may be too much of a short cut to understanding. What I’m really excited to write posts about so that I might better understand it are my notes on the Jewish Festivals. I’m still waiting on a few Zola booklets to help my understanding, but that Festival thing really should be part of  our basic knowledge.

Today I read an apparently well known Jewish parable  -

There once was a mighty king who owned the finest diamond in all the world.  People came from far and near to see the precious stone, which sat glowing in a display case.
One day the king passed the case and decided he wished to hold the stone that had given him such pleasure. As he stood gazing at it, a flash of sunlight happened to strike at a certain angle and the king noticed for the first time that his diamond had a flaw.
So precious had the jewel become to him that the ruler was distraught. He called for his advisers to tell him what to do. The advisers pondered and could arrive at no solution. Finally, by consensus they agreed the king should offer a reward to anyone who could come forward and ease the ruler’s pain.
The reward was duly posted and the amount was substantial. Word traveled quickly and soon jewelers from throughout the land lined up to offer their suggestions.  Each viewed the stone and shook his head. No, the stone was permanently flawed and the only alternative offered to the sad king was to cut the diamond at the flaw line and make two smaller stones. To this the king would not agree.
Finally, all the jewelers had been heard. Left standing was a poor bedraggled man who had been pushed to the end of the line by all the others. Eyeing him, the king asked if he, too, were a jeweler.
No, I am not, your highness. I do lapidary work. I see beauty not only in precious jewels but in stones from the ground, as well.
The king hesitated a moment and thought carefully. He nearly turned the lowly man away, but there was something that glowed in the lapidist’s eyes that caught and held the king’s attentions, some sureness.
Your highness, if you will permit, I can not only restore the jewel, but I can bring it to even greater beauty than it had before. Please trust me.
The king stood quite still, his hands behind his ermine-bedecked velvet robes.  Finally, after what seemed an eternity to all who listened, he ordered the lapidist to begin his work.
His advisors were aghast.
How can you trust such a man with such a jewel?
No! Sire, please reconsider.
But the king held firm.
You may proceed, he said, but be aware that if you fail you will die.
I understand, sire, said the little man.
He was given a special room in which to work, one that glowed in the sunlight from many sides. The king watched as the man examined the stone and began chiseling around the imperfection. Startled, the king demanded to know why the lapidary was furthering damaging the stone.
Please, your highness, he said, wait until I am done and you shall see I have not damaged the diamond.
A week went by, and then another. Frequently the king would stop into the workshop, and each time the lapidist would assure him and then reassure him that all was going well.
Finally, the great day came. With a look of pride the poor man entered the king’s chamber and, kneeling, presented the ruler with the finished jewel. The king loved his diamond so greatly that he actually feared what he might see.
Then, after saying a small prayer to his god, he looked down at the gem now glowing in the palm of his hand. What he saw brought such an aura of joy to him that it matched the happiness on the lapidist’s face.
What the man had done was to engrave a rosebud around the imperfection and in creating the rosebud he used the flaw as its stem.
The king was truly awed for the poor man had kept his word. Not only did he have his precious stone but it was now even more special as the flower glistened from every angle.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

2 April 2011

Today Five and I will spend the best part of the day on a major University campus as she participates in several Science Olympiad events. This is her second year at "the big show" and she is very happy and excited. ... And she's trying to play it cool. This is probably my 15th visit to this particular event ... I am enjoying watching my daughter's joy. This is a special day for her ... The competitive buzz has empowered her to request her first cup of StarBucks. Yeah, seriously. She is cloistered in her event and I am on a coffee run. Starbucks opens in one minute ... 10:59 local time ... She says she wants plenty of cream and sugar ... Light and sweet, just like her momma.

Notes from 2011

"The difference between great people and everyone else is that great people create their lives actively, while everyone else is created by their lives, passively waiting to see where life takes them next."
-Michael Gerber THE E-Myth REVISITED

I think this is an accurate statement ... perhaps stated more emphatically then I "own" ... I think this attitude is part of a bigger picture. 
This is why I don't wait well ... I can see the value in "wait" (As in wait upon the Lord), but wait is not my default mode. 
Wait is a choice and I have recently learned that it is not necessarily a passive choice.  Wait upon the Lord makes perfect sense to me ... wait on who knows what to  ... what? rescue you? ... tell you what to do? ... dwindle your options down to one or two?  I have gotten myself in to a little life lesson in an airplane because I didn't think about waiting ... but I always remember that now ... wait can be a good choice when you know what you are waiting on, and how long you can wait (until wait is not longer viable).  Seems like you'd definitely want to be making some plans ... while you wait. 

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

Proverbs is pretty much loaded with this idea ... make your plans,but the Lord ... .  This seems to me to be a call to engage.  Religion sometimes makes this idea hard ... from my prospective.  But, it's really pretty simple.  I see it as a raft ride ... I love rafting.  I love dragging White Russians in the cold stream ... for later ... those are for days when you just want a leisurely float.  And then there are other days when the roar of the water calls out and you squint your eyes and laugh out loud wondering if you'll ever have to really grow up.  Maybe you chose your day in advance ... way before you put in. Sometimes, it seems like you are presented with a choice (either in the planning stage or if you are not a planner ... on the fly, so to speak) and later find that either route empties into the same pool  ... downstream.  I can start at many different points, there are many different experiences offered ... everything from Texas Gourmet (Uhhuh ...  ) rafting all the way down to a  little pink blow up floaty ... the  Rio Grande emptys it's muddy flow in to the Gulf of Mexico ... I've seen it from a fishing boat off South Padre Island.  I would like to raft the Big Bend area. 
I think that is how it is with God.
We chose the route, He already sees the destination. 
I love that expression Vaya Con Dios for this very reason ... Go with God ... always a good plan.

I have been busy while I wait. And there have been a few days when I didn't wait well ... . I am starting to hope that I have heard the songs that this downtime has sung in to my soul.  I need a break from myself!

From 2011 - in the mood for a bad mood - just goofiness.

Okay here's something kinda funny: well, first the background, it's certainly not my intention to hide this.

Last year that professional hero who I talked with about this blog said the very least I should do is make an attempt to record visits to this site somewhere ... Somehow. There are a few whacks out there he said. I said some goofy blog of a housewife who happens to love flying ... Surely the voltage here would be way too low to charge a whacko. Just do that stat counter thing he said.
So I did.

The statcounter ... Well, for one thing, it's free ... and I am reminded of the old adage, "you get what you pay for" ... Of course, I've been on the planet long enough to believe that one frequently overpays ... and is then expected to tip!
The stat counter feature records some "hits" ... And gives the possible location for the cellular tower that is pinging the site. If apple devices are used it may or may nor capture the visit. If it does, it's documented as "service provider" and basically says ... USA. Whenever I have asked friends to open my page it never records their hit ...and this is strange: it might show several different pageloads, but record the time spent as zero ... It's just not good data. It is fun to see the page maybe being openned up in other countries ... and it is a lot of fun to see the words translated to foreign languages ... very cool for a little country mouse like me.  But as far as who is actually reading the blog ... who knows, and who cares for the most part.  The free level of data that is collected is unreliable ... and doesn't even agree with the blogger stats ...and the time range is very limited.  My good friend who is down in South Texas ... never ever shows her looking in on me ... but she does. Okay ... We all know South Texas is the armpit of the world ... perhaps reception is poor there.   So ... My daughter was recently visiting in Los Angeles. That would seem to be an area that would record a hit.I asked her to open the page on her phone and on her laptop ... she did ... her visit wasn't captured.  Seems like it works best with hits from outside the US ... maybe ... it doesn't matter to me.
Why am I writing about this? This is why ... All of a sudden statcounter is lighting up with "Google queries" ... What is meant by "this quote" ... What about true north funeral something or other.  Weird little arteries that dead end on a blog ... questions that will find no answers here.  This is what kinda has me going tonight ... these google queries. Maybe I am just in the mood to be in a bad mood.  Someone wants to know what has changed on the FAA written exam

I have a few pet peeve ... .  One is the toilet papar roll/wall dispenser. Seriously, I'm not even kidding around here, in our home ... and every home I have ever lived in ... okay including the only outhouse I've ever visited and the job site type porta-potties ... That spring loaded dowel that attaches itself to a handy little t-paper dispenser ... If you use the last bit on the roll ... for the love of all things lovely ... please freaking reload the roll holder! It would be so extra credit to "point" the tip of the roll, but never something one would count on. Every freaking day in my house ... I pick up new rolls and hang them in the appropriate location ... that pisses me off.  And has absolutely nothing to do with the google search ... they are related only as pet peeves.
So here is the other thing ...

Flight training/testing gamesmanship. Okay ... That is not right. Gamesmanship I get. Gamesmanship is actually appropriate ... perhaps expected ... perhaps even admirable. The slackerness is what zings me ... Some google search recorded by the statcounter asks "what are the written test changes?" I would really like to ask ... where in real life are you ever given all the possible questions and all the correct answers in a multiple choice format? If your goal is to score well ... memorize the answers. I'm not even being judgmental with that remark. There are all kinds of reasons why people who want to be pilots just memorize the answers. I think it's stupid to leave yourself exposed like that ... Cramming for a test and "understanding" pertinate info are two different things ... But surely a person who puts a plane up in the air gets that. Here's the deal as I see it ... The written is an opportunity for you to see if you "know" the stuff you really should know before you fly yourself and your buds around. There is a ton of stuff and it takes quite a bit of effort to "get it" ... It's impossible to know everything ... Someone said aviation knowledge is like a block of Swiss cheese ... No matter how big your chunk, there are still going to be holes in it. So ... The written might be an instrument to indicate weak areas.

Now it is the next day ... and I see that this little post is just a little rant.  I see that I really was in the mood to be in a bad mood ... as I suspected.  This may be about the pre-dinner dirty martini ... looks like I might do well to stick with ice cold water ... .   I'm going to go ahead and post this so I can see how ridiculous I sometimes am.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Choices are sacrifices

Notes from 2011 (I still like ice cream and coffee and altitude.)

Choices are sacrifices ... It means giving up something you want for something you want more.

I'm not a big TV watcher ... I like to read, or maybe do a suduko while a program is on. My husband enjoys relaxing with a show ... During the last several months we have "seen" several seasons of Mad Men (ummm ... not really a fan, though I do think it's well written), Flash Forward (Sci-Fi, I liked the concept), Burn Notice (strong character development of weak characters ... Stuff gets blown up often, predictable, but okay), and one I will actually watch ... White Collar (FBI guys team up with a couple of interesting Con men to fight crime). We watch them on NetFlix or purchase them at iTunes. That line above is from one of those shows. I thought it was interesting enough to stop flipping through pictures on Pinterest, or stop Stumbling through articles on topics of interest ... and tap it out on my little yellow pad.

Choices are sacrifices.

That seems right ... This or that with frequently unknown penalties and/or pleasures. Life is a series of almost constant choices.

Giving up something you want for something you want more ...

Well, that's pretty great ... like you're a winner either way.  
I don't think that's very realistic.
 How 'bout "something I don't want for something I want even less".

How do we know to chose. We can't see very far in to the outcomes of choices.

I am hungry for ice cream ... I want it to taste like coffee and altitude. That flavor is unavailable.

O'Donohue on Memory

“Your soul is the priestess of memory, selecting, sifting, and ultimately gathering your vanishing days toward presence."

"On its outer surface time is vulnerable to transience. Regardless of its sadness or beauty, each day empties and vanishes. In its deeper heart, time is transfiguration. Time minds possibility and makes sure that nothing is lost or forgotten. That which seems to pass away on the surface of time is in fact transfigured and housed in the tabernacle of memory.” John O'Donohue

Monday, October 14, 2019

First ever.
Scrap squares bound with a butterfly stitch.
I finished attaching the binding today and have just the handwork left.
Two others are away to the longarm.
I have two left to do, starting one tomorrow.

Palo Duro Canyon

Some of the comments on this photo, snapped on recent campout, observe that the fire looks like a barking dog. Or a coyote. I didn't see coyotes, but I did hear them barking off somewhere in the dark distance. I saw deer tracks in the mud covering the trails and I saw wild turkeys who seemed tame enough wandering the camp sites. I saw a tarantula who was the size of my palm and I heard something scratching in the gravel of the campsite. By the second night I was too tired to notice. 

Turns out I love tent camping. Nobody could be more surprised about that than I. I like that you not only get to see things differently then you do from your usual places or even a hotel balcony, but that you are immersed in what is going on around you. I sleep well. Mostly. If I do wake up during the night it's because I sense my dog is contemplating licking my face or something about the cot isn't quite right. I don't wake up with my heart pounding. I probably feel safer out there than I should, but the camp grounds are invariably full of airstreams and fancy pop out RVs pulled by big trucks driven largely by men who discretely indicate their willingness to have served the country. 

I like it out there so much at dusk when the hush falls and just for those very few moments darkness is barely an expectation. it feels like just a second later it is dark. Velvety dark and ten degrees cooler. I love it when the night insects begin to call and I listen hoping to hear an owl as well. Then the stars. I'm always looking for "the first one", but it seems like a few appear together, and more later and later, and I wonder if that's the Milky Way or just a high veil of stratus crystals. I think about that dust mote and the Pale Blue Dot. We leave the top off of the tent and I enjoy waking to notice where the moon has flown to while I snoozed. 

Sunday, September 1, 2019

White Heron surveying The San Gabriel River southern branch

60 has been my favorite year so far and we've finished only 2/3rds of it.  Probably several things have come together to make this such a neat time in my life. A major one for me is ... one of the things I have struggled with over the years is celebrating important occasions, marking milestones well. The Happiness Hypothesis guy, Haidt, well, let's do this...

The Happiness Hypothesis is a book about ten Great Ideas. Each chapter is an attempt to savor one idea that has been discovered by several of the world's civilizations -- to question it in light of what we now know from scientific research, and to extract from it the lessons that still apply to our modern lives and illuminate the causes of human flourishing.

I bought the book back in 2011 in support of some things I was thinking about back then. Lately it was added to my Audible library because I wanted to read it again before recommending it to Tommy's daughter in law (He'd adore her ... and they are expecting a son in January
I can feel him busting buttons on his robe of white.) 
A friend and I were trying to float some of the scorching Texas heat off the other day when the topic of my hearing loss came up. I don't want to fiddle with hearing aids yet. I can tune out most of what I don't want to hear while still hearing birds chirp and the fountain energy resolving with a happy patter in the pool ... I was raised back when Walter Cronkite read you news you could count on, back before Third World Problems were our own. 
She is a nurse Doctor (taught nursing) evolved to "Life Coach", super smart (like, I can see her actually thinking about what was said rather than what she's going to reply and it makes me smile). She is the most "free spirited" person I can ever remember letting in to my life. She said she has recently read studies linking hearing loss with dementia and told me that the area of my brain that processes and interprets language is also the memory recall center. I thought, but didn't say, I don't know about that*, she is after all a professional in that broader area. 

 *just because I have hearing loss doesn't mean that I will also develop dementia ... but maybe there is a link ... so have they linked memory with smell because my memories are easily prompted by smells as well ... sounds actually seem to recall feelings before memories (like this, Rumors album, released in 1977 which was the year I took my little world by the tail ... i hear a snippet form that and I smile. I feel happy ... why do I feel happy? Oh yeah, 1977.  Language is different from sound, obviously related for the hearing, but still ... . Then I wondered about selective hearing, or selecting what I hear, and the idea of listening to the Haidt book quickly progressed to my Amazon wishlist. I'm listening to it while I sew quilt tops together and while I garden. 
I like the quiet I find myself with. I didn't tell her this (because of that life coach thing) when she asked me what hearing loss "feels" like. But ... it feels good to me, my interior space is invitingly calm and generally happy ... it's the outside world that is troubling. That a dial down the societal hum makes sense to me. It's in my good choice column for now. I like the book and I love being read too, it there are memory health advantages to me gained that's even better!

60 has been my favorite year so far and we've finished only 2/3rds of it.

Probably several things have come together to make this such a neat time in my life. A major one for me is ... one of the things I have struggled with over the years is celebrating important occasions, marking milestones well. My sixtieth birthday celebration seemed like a good place to start trying to remedy that . The Happiness Hypothesis guy, Haidt, said, the time after responsibilities to/for others decrease and the time before health related problems occur, is measurably the best, happiest time of our lives.  That has been my experience as well.
Haidt also noted that it is the actual process of achieving our goal that creates happiness while the completion of those efforts usually culminates in something more like a sign of relief. that idea also resonates with my goal oriented self.
Before my big birthday I told my husband that a "one time thing" really didn't seem like enough time  to eek all the joy out of arriving at sixty, the big 6-oh, feeling as wonderful about life as I do. He said, for this year we will celebrate your birthday everyday, and he is reminding me of why I liked him in the first place every time he says "It's your birthday!"

"Will you grill steaks on Sunday?"

"For your birthday?  Sure!"

One of the ways to "be" happier according to Haidt, and I believe it, is to chose to spend your time doing things that make you happy. I like walking as much as I have liked flying. I like being at the walking time of my life. I'm really enjoying this quieter season of my life.

Friday, August 9, 2019

I’ve been so busy! I’m well. It’s been a wonderful summer, and I’ll be back soon to save some memories here!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Yea! I’ve loaded pictures strictly with iPhone technology!

These were taken around Chaco Canyon in northwestern New Mexico. 

We’ve been out  camping for eight nights now and have tent setup down to 4 minutes 46 seconds. I’m surprised that air mattresses are very comfortable! 

We started out seeing Marfa, Texas while waiting for an evening of star gazing with the folks at McDonald Observatory. I thought it was a great time but my travel buddies thought it was a waste of a perfectly good evening. We saw Mercury before it set ushering in views of Saturn (with four moons visible) and more shooting stars than I’ve ever wished on in one night. 

Add caption
Note from June 2012 - the opening lines of that show NUMBERS. 
Marfa, as I saw it ... some very sophisticated marketing, or flat out chincanery, is reshaping the local real estate market and filling dusty East Texas with fancy folks from both coasts. The tiny grocery store is stocked to pantry perfection. “Box culvert” Art seems to be the big draw, while several miles NE, near Valentine, a land art installation pretty well sums it all up. 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

It's been so long since I opened my laptop!
It's an old laptop, but today, as the first time I opened it, I am struck by how nice Apple "feels". 
I am a big fan of all things Apple. 

What is that icon of theirs about - once you take the first bite you just want more

My phone knows practically everything about how my day is spent ... and in what area, yard or bathroom, Apple knows. Now I have the watch. Of course I adore it, everything about it seems perfect to me. It tracks my BPM which I think is pretty neat even though I have basically never wondered about that before, unless I was specifically working out. The voice text app is perfection enrobed in sleekness ... and it's so easy to clean! I can even take calls on it like Dick Tracey.

It reminds me to stand at ten till every hour (unless it knows I'm asleep or the usual, already standing). It monitors my overall activity level through out the day and my exercise specific activity as well. It tracks not only the time of my sleep, but the quality of my sleep and breaks down a range from restless to deep sleep. I think it's funny that it "thinks" I've gone back to sleep when I'm really in my first thing of the morning spot drinking (my new thing bulletproof) coffee and reading ... BPM in the low 60's tricks it. Sometimes I take the watch off while I sleep, the watch knows more about me than the people right next to me in life, and that bothers me. 

Sometimes I wonder if that biteoutoftheapple icon is going to seem ominous someday.

The flower pictured above was planted in our backyard about this time last summer. I finished the actual landscape planting (of the back yard) this morning, early, ahead of the rain.  It's raining again now and has been off and on all day. Now it has stopped again, to Max's relief, he is bothered by the rain and most especially by lightning and thunder. He can't figure it out. I don't know if rain actually penetrates his fur, but he obviously is perplexed by it.

We're sitting right here now. You can see the top of his rump over there by Tommy's glider (I'm glad I have that). Early this morning I had those curtains pulled back and I got to see a hummingbird hover in front of each individual flower as it feed on the nectar. I put up the curtains because I thought they'd be pretty with the rock and because I still remember battling the mosquitoes last Spring all the way through Summer. Turns out my favorite thing about the curtains is watching them rustle in the breeze.

Monday, March 18, 2019

My dad and me in probably 1961. 
He's been gone for 39 years now. 
He would be completely mystified by the changes in the world made since then. 
He sure would be proud of his grandkids. 
I've never know anyone with lighter blue eyes than my dad. 
I liked that he played his guitar and sang to us before bedtime when I was that age. 
He'd be about thirty in this picture.

It's weird to me that I am the last person of his who is still alive to remember my dad.

I still get a bit "seepy" from time to time concerning Cancer and more especially about losing my brother. Just got home from the Girl's Get Together/ Quilting retreat.  To catch you up, one of my high school friends hosts a girls only party up in North Texas behind the piney curtain. Besides sitting in a huge room sewing together, there's a fair amount of chatting, most of it surprisingly deep.  The topic of cancer came up, probably does anytime twelve women sit down to visit. The girl next to me (who I really feel connection with - weird for me as I generally keep a polite distance with people who are new to me) was working on the same quilt she was last year when I first met her.  The quilt fabric was harvested from a man's oxford cloth shirts and is becoming quilt squares which will eventually become quilts for that man's two adult daughters and his wife.  This friend is currently heart deep in the declining mental health of her own father in law. I could feel her heart breaking as she told the story. The family is in denial as the man exhibits life long social skills which have ingrained themselves in to habits while at the same time being obviously as lost as a stray kitten. Sometimes he seems like himself. That's who the family needs to see. Its a private and complicated story but each one of us will live out a variation of it as we tend to our elderly. I shame myself for the relief I feel knowing that my momma is safe with Jesus and I don't have to shape my life around hers. I feel bad about not being able to "like" her better. My friends remember her kindly.

One friend, who does the machine quilting for people, brought her huge tub of scraps to share with me. I'll put some pictures up to show you how she has taught me to make quilt blocks for a secret project that I'm involved with. Sounds mysterious doesn't it? I came home with a YETI 45 crammed with colorful cotton fabrics. I'm ironing them this week while I wait for my sewing machine to come home from the shop. Something inside it is saying no when I press the yes button.

Cancer. They wanted to know what I thought about the different choices people consider when they find out they have cancer. Starting with Stage four any cancer - I personally would chose to go directly to palliative care. I would chose for the people who love me to never see the pain and in my mind, inevitable despair, on my face ... contorting and destroying my body. The therapies we have for treating stage four cancers take you down a very dark road which leads to a tunnel with no light at the end of it. Those therapies are for people who need to buy time. My brother needed time. The very worst pain in my life was in seeing him see the pain I was experiencing as I looked at him with my guard down. I thought he was sound asleep ... curled up and whimpering faintly ... on that third day after an infusion. I wonder that it didn't break him before it killed him. Added to his burden was my anguish. A tear slid down his face sideways as we silently accepted the fact that he could not survive this. It's a hard thing to watch hope shatter. Fortunately the time he bought brought him some peace.
Momma was not a candidate for chemo or for any of the therapies. Because of her heart condition, or her age, or the quality of her insurance I did not ask. The Oncologist told me that I could have Momma's cancer biopsied so that I might know it's primary source ... they told me it was in her liver and the size of a grapefruit ... and that Momma would very likely not survive the procedure. I didn't ask any other questionsI told Momma when she asked, that her cancer was too far along for the chemo to help, which she meekly accepted every time the dementia prompted her to ask again. They "gave" Momma three months max but she was gone six weeks later ... and was pain free the entire time. I believe she decided to "go easy".

There's one other thing about her passing that you might find interesting. I had decided not to share it with y'all because I may have misunderstood it or imagined it. Right before she died she looked deep into my eyes. To me it felt like the first time she had truly ever looked at me. The me of me. It creeped me out but I don't understand why. I am generally willing to let people see me if they are inclined to really look. Anyway she "saw" me and in her eyes I instantly read "regret", "remorse". I told her I love you Momma, I always have ... . She seemed to panic for a split second, maybe it was that she caught her last breathe, then she died. To me it felt exactly like a birth. I think she was born in to the soul that God was thinking of when he formed her in the womb. I think He is still forming us as we develop to be born in to eternity.

I told my friends that I think the insurance companies should offer a choice between whatever the protocol for their cancer is and palliative care plus a lump sum of money so that the cancer patient could spend that insurance money in whatever way was most meaningful to them. I don't know how it is decided who gets what level of care, but I imagine it is quite expensive.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

This is the second quilt I've made. It's intended to be a companion quilt to the first, pictured at the bottom. Those colorful scrapes were given to me by a friend from my high school days.  She is a serious quilter. I will never be though I do plan on making a stack of these throw size quilts. They are kinda fun to make. I like figuring out what to do with the scrapes. It's kinda one of my things ... working with what is available to create something beautiful and useful. 

I stacked the three pieces, the top, the filler and the bottom, together in the wrong order. It's supposed to be top and bottom "right"sides together next to each other with the filler on the outside of the stack so that when you flip it right side out, the filler is in the middle.  Bet I'll never forget that lesson learned. The quilt will have turquoise hand stitching wavy lines holding it all together. The quilt below used the same scraps organized in the rainbow pattern which was repeated in the quilt pictured above. 
I do not really like these bright colored quilts ... like if I were making them for my own use they would be muted colors. It's turning out, as I become more familiar with QUILTS, that I like modern quilts best. I probably will do one for my bed. Next up for me will be a twin size quilt for my youngest child who gets to move into an apartment for her Sophomore year at college.  She is really rocking her Freshman year.

my first quilt

I'll try to remember to put a picture of the second quilt here when I've finished the handwork. It's going to be cute.

So this friend, she was really the best friend of one of my close friends. Three of those girls who I hang out with now, again after all those years I was away, actually have know each other ever since the "crib baby" room at the First Baptist Church in our hometown. The quilter queen friend (who is a PhD and still works) and I went to Girl's State together and were in the same Driver's Ed trio with Mr. Pruney. She likes to tell the story about my turn at learning what to do if case of "uneven pavement excursions". She says I said I didn't want to do it and in fact I refused to steer myself off the road onto the lower shoulder. That does sound a bit like 16 year old me. Mr. Pruney, not one to take no from one of his students, yanked the wheel crispy to the right and I responded by flooring it. We lost a hubcap in the adjacent cornfield while I was executing donuts. Not on purpose. Once we came to a stop he made us get out and find that hubcap. I had completely forgotten that story before she reminded me by telling it during one of the "girl's weekends" that they've sweetly made me a part of.
That corn field was dusty and sticky hot. I did remember that.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

There is a place in Waco, Texas,  Homestead Heritage Village, they call it "an intentional Christian community", which sounds a little red flaggy to me but other than that ... they make a lot of really cool stuff, the brooms pictured above among them.  Last week we purchased live edge lumber (for my kinda tiny) master bathroom.  It was the last room I painted in this house, having waited almost a year while we decided if we were going to work with the space as it is or take in the small adjoining space (which houses the area pictured in the preceding post). I am surprised by how much I like those areas. I do miss a deep soak tub, but it is good to have something to wish for.

Earlier today my husband and I apartment sat for our oldest son. He has recently moved and the cable guy needed in. I love the area he chose because it is like a macro community with live/work arrangement, and plenty of interesting places for him to unwind at the end of his work day ... super cool environment for the little fur monster who keeps him company.  I like Australian Shepherds a lot.  They are perfectly delightful beasts. Their energy level is very demanding though.
I wish I was able to see my two out of state kids more often. I don't worry about them, I just think they are all really neat people. And I like to hug them.

Yesterday I went to a very neat fabric store where I found the two fabrics for the next little quilt I'm getting ready to make. Cant remember if I put a picture of the one I made last year here or not.  I'm not a quilter. I don't know what people do with the quilts they make except give them away. My plan is to make a few "mini quilts" which might become baby quilts.  Lol.  I'm still truly okay with no grandchildren, though I'm concerned that today's parents might be a bit creeped out by how big I smile at their tiny shopping cart babies. It's a different world... .

I've been really happy lately.  I seem to be at a really happy time in my life. And I am trying to embrace that wholeheartedly.

We are planning a long camping/roadtrip for this Summer.  I really can't wait!  Our farthest (which I pronounce furthest even though I've been told that's incorrect) away point is Zion National Park. My HS Science teach kid is joining us for the trip. I am so glad that she can take huge chucks of time away to see the things she wants to see and I am so happy that she will be spending some of her summer traveling with her Dad and I. Max isn't going. He thinks the entire back of the car is his so he sprawls out everywhere. 

My childhood friends have a "Master Quilter" among them. She hosts a once a year girl's long weekend - that's what got me started on these mini quilts. And I secretly kinda love planning them out. And the hand-stitching is very fun.  

Thursday, January 17, 2019

the cords have relaxed a bit from when this photo was taken and now hang straight - here the beads look wobbly still.

ceiling plate

This is what I have been working on. I'll use a different chair there and I wish the countertop could be veneered in concrete but I like that I could play around in this small space and leave it with a smile. My husband and I collaborated on "making" these light fixtures - tickled with how they turned out!

This will be my 60th year. Wow. That used to seem old!

Honestly, it doesn't feel old. I mean, yeah, this or that in my body might talk to me after a long road trip or even after a day which required too many positions, but basically I feel fabulous.  It's true that my hearing has steadily declined during the past few y, okay since the seventies, but that music still begs the question: How loud is too loud? I don't hear well and I kinda like it like that. There's so much stuff in the air these days that it hits my soul like Texas Cedar popping hits my sinuses. There's only so much time one can spend trying to make sense of the senseless.

I predict this will be The Year of Circles, hopefully closing, maybe staying open.  
Yes, my Christmas gift "scolds" me when it looks like I'm neglecting my circles.  Cedar pollen has not been a kind work out buddy this season.
I wish the Apple watch would let me choose it's accent. 

This is (so far) my 60th year "project".  Here it is - Remember all your best memories, find ways to celebrate and reinforce the joy of those golden moments.

Like the third grade field trip to the Burke Baker Planetarium. Like Miss Hazel always letting me win at tick tack toe - she'd laugh when I tried to get her to take a hint. Momma said she was an old spinster before Mr. Alvin came along, but my daddy said they'd been married since he was a small child. It would be fun to play tick tack toe with a child.

So - I'm trying to access some memories to fortify and  take forward with me, and that idea companioned this one - find sad memories, bad memories, hurtful memories by listening to myself talk (even if it's just to myself, and maybe especially if). Apply forgiveness. Ask God to wrap it in grace. Forget about it forever.

My Aunt is in her mid 80's. I try to call her with some routine. She is my mother's younger sister and I'd say clearly Momma's best lifelong friend. When we talk my Aunt rambles through her hurtful memories and sometimes she even gets riled up in the telling. Every time we talk. Those are the memories that she has rolling around in her head and she works her way through them as one might the beads on a rosary. It makes me so sad for her. It's a meager feast for her old age. I suspect all humans suffer. as well as have moments of joy. I'm hoping I might discipline myself towards reliving the good moments when those days arrive for me.

I am old enough to remember how marvelously cool Dick Tracey's watch was.