Jade

Do you see what I see? If you look closely, you can see. See those two little sprouts? They are a sign. A sign that with time, and gentleness, and nurturing, things will eventually be ok. And a little sunshine never hurts either.

A sign that things, life, will take root, and maybe, just maybe, one day we will begin living with our whole hearts again. That she is living through us, as was so eloquently pointed out to me as I broke down on Thanksgiving after hearing her voice in that of her youngest.

This is a very special plant. A jade that by all family accounts is about 60 years old. Originally owned by her mother in Ft. Lauderdale a piece was carried to Duke University in Durham, NC, I think, by Aunt Jo Ann then up to Washington D.C., where a piece broke off and made its way to Utah, where it grew to fill a huge pot, then lived alone in a ranch in Wyoming while others went to Hawaii, and eventually came back and adopted it once more.

I found this broken piece on the ground of the breezeway on the day that she died. She had meant to give me a piece but it didn’t happen. Or did it?

And so I took it home that day and planted it. And nurtured it. And waited.

Notes to Myself

DSC_0407Note #1: Be gentle with yourself.

It’s cool. I’m here to tell you something. You’re great. Do the very dang best you can do… then try to do just a bit better than that. There… as long as you’re doing that, that internal voice that might occasionally tell you that you’re not allowed or not enough… that voice is a jerk. And you know it’s a jerk because you know you’re doing your very best, and then some.

Joy the Baker

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Let us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare, and look forward to the time when we may pick the fruit.

                                                        –Anton Chekhov

Ya’ll, I am happy to report that for the first time in a long time….I think I may be setting fruit. More later.

xoxo

E

Lost in My Mind

IMG_5647Playing catch-up. Always playing catch-up.

How to sum it up to date? Everything seems off. Like life is simultaneously happening at lightening speed as seen in slow motion.

And so a mixtape, per usual, to sum it up. It may not explicitly say FORWARD. But it is there, hidden among the verses. You have to trust me on this one.

There was running, of course, but slower and less consistent then usual. Running nonetheless. And even biking, although that doesn’t have a soundtrack. Drum corps and enthusiasm for annual meetings I have yet to attend. In early spring a sweet wedding in Mexico with a double rainbow, for the sweetest kids, one whom was just a baby when we first met. The one with the singing on the plaza and the fish tacos. Frankly, that one perplexed me the longest and hence the delay. But I figured it out, or at least pushed forward. And, after all, that’s the point of all of this anyway isn’t it? Another wedding, the one with the palm trees and café lights and celebrity attendees, and yet we were all just the same, singing at the top of our lungs to songs we all share as if we went to the same high school.

This was the summer (and spring and winter) of the new car. The one with the satellite radio that seems extravagant yet brings me so much daily joy. Thank you First Wave, for making my commute something to sing about, at the top of my lungs, shades on, sunroof open. There was slow progress made on the Tidy Up. Is it done, I am not sure, but it is close, and there is more space and order than ever. I am open to all that comes from that. That openness allows for reflection. And there is indeed reflection. In the why of it all, in the unfairness of it all, in the high moments and low moments. The lowest of the low. The laughter and joy through the tears. Of the songs without words.

I am ready for something good, I think—-and we’ve made plans for that. A road trip is order, and we’ll be sure to play it, all of it. Shades on, sunroof open, singing at the top of our lungs, moving forward. Watching it all in slow motion.


2015 OLW mixtape

  1. Technologic 4:44 Daft Punk Human After All
  2. Wind It Up 3:10 Gwen Stefani The Sweet Escape
  3. Dance The Night Away 4:23 The Mavericks Definitive Collection
  4. Panic 2:21 The Smiths  The Sound of The Smiths
  5. You’ve Got Time 3:10 Regina Spektor  Orange Is the New Black (Soundtrack)
  6. Turning Japanese 3:46 The Vapors Turning Japanese – Best of the Vapors
  7. 99 Red Balloons 3:51  Nena   99 Luftballons
  8. Heartbeats 2:42  José González  Veneer
  9. The Man Who Can’t Be Moved 4:01 The Script  The Script
  10. The House That Built Me 3:57  Miranda Lambert  Revolution
  11. Somewhere Over the Rainbow 5:12 Israel Kamakawiwo’ole Ka ‘Ano’i
  12. Picture Me 5:18  Yiruma Love Scene (Yiruma Piano Solo)
  13. Your Hand In Mine 8:17 Explosions In the Sky The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place
  14. Airstream Song 2:48  Miranda Lambert  Revolution
  15. Lost In My Mind 4:19 The Head and the Heart The Head and the Heart
  16. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) 3:39  The Proclaimers  Sunshine On Leith
  17. Waves  3:49  The Cruise Slowly Drifting After U

So I don’t forget

selfie with pammy

DSC_0083I want to remember her generosity.

I want to remember how welcoming she was. And that first Christmas where I spent hours in her kitchen looking through her cookbooks and noting recipes to copy.

I want to remember that she had long, delicate but agile fingers which she used to do everything from deliver babies and care for mothers, to bake pie.

I want to remember her straight long hair, sometimes in a low ponytail and sometimes not. And the way she wrapped her fingers around it, even when there was none, to pull it from her shirt or jacket.

I want to remember her baby mohawk.

I want to remember that she wore three rings—one gold wedding band, one diamond eternity anniversary band that came after a long search post Italy, and one mixed gold and silver band from Hawai’i.

I want to remember that she always wore “silver ball” earrings, until later when she switched to a silver earing with a dropped crystal, which I don’t think I really noticed until she lost her hair, and then they seemed that much more elegant.

I want to remember the hours she would spend French braiding the “little girls’” hair on the houseboat, carefully threading beads onto the sections.

I want to remember that she hung silver stars in the windows at Christmastime. They are tarnished from time and gently turn in the light of the sun and movement of the inside air.

I want to remember that she started many emails with “Aloha!”

I want to remember that she always lit the candles for dinner. We must remember to do this.

I want to remember her love of hummingbirds. And daylilies. And wind chimes.

I want to remember having music on in the background. And her turning on the music midmorning and entering the kitchen at the ranch(es) to start prep on our next fantastic meal, first using recipe cards kept in a box in plastic sleeves, then her iPad.

I want to remember the wake up song.

I want to remember her garden. And the “night of the frost” last of the season basil harvest and pesto making sessions. And the gnocchi with pesto we would eat in the dead of winter.

I want to remember the special desserts like the “Bombe aux Trois Chocolat” and the more practical but satisfying, perhaps more so, Chocolate Sheet Cake.

I want to remember that when the cake falls in the center, you just “put a little more icing to even it out, and it won’t even matter.”

I want to remember the time she baked me an out of season birthday cake and one of the dogs stole a layer off the ranch kitchen counter while it was cooling. Result=three layer cake.

I want to remember that she sometimes felt that the cost didn’t matter, especially on flank steak and pork tenderloin in Hawai’i. That you just “closed your eyes and put it in the basket.” That some things are worth paying a lot of money for and that gifts sometimes came with the price tag still attached.

I want to remember when she would eat something really delicious she would take a first bite and close her eyes and sit back in her chair with her arms on the arm rests and lick her lips and slowly say “mmmm.” And in that utterance say all the things.

I want to remember that she drank hot chocolate, made from scratch, instead of coffee or tea. That she drank Coke—from a can, with ice. Or from the convenience store fountain with pebble ice preferably. And that her favorite ice was that made from that crusher thing from her childhood home.

I want to remember the “whooish, whooish, whooish” sound she made when she swirled the meringue with her index finger on the key lime pie.

I want to remember that I missed her last birthday because I was in Maine, but that when I came back she said “we missed you” and I said “I missed you too.”

I want to remember that it is important to get in the photos. And take selfies with loved ones. And to smile.

I want to remember the texts about Downton Abbey.

I want to remember that when I asked, she wasn’t afraid, yet I was secretly terrified for her, for me, for all of us.

I want to remember her love for red rock country, and Lake Powell, and Shakespeare. And plants from Cactus and Tropicals, and table cloths from Williams and Sonoma (on sale).

I want to remember her saying “That’s an Instagrammer.”

I want to remember her knowing the Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake stats. And leaving the dinner table post dessert to watch a DVR’d game with her sisters.

I want to remember that after 29 years of marriage she still sat on Ken’s lap.

I want to remember the menu and shopping lists. She always prepared with a list. And assignments.

I want to remember that she was the organizer, the facilitator, the glue. I don’t know what we will do without her.

I want to remember when Sam was looking at her quilt she resurrected her wit and broke her silence and said “That’s mine!” as if to say “you can’t have it.” Outside it made me laugh, inside it made me cry.

I want to remember thinking that the quilt wasn’t enough to keep her with us, and I was foolish to think it might, but that it did provide comfort (to me in the making) and her (in the using) and wrapped her in love. Not just for her, but for the kids who napped, emotionally exhausted, underneath it on the day they lost their mom. And thus in that instant making it made it again worth it.

I want to remember.

Slow Stitching Reflections

 

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The thing about writing is it doesn’t have to be perfect. Repeat that to yourself again and again. It doesn’t have to be grammatically correct. It doesn’t have to happen in paragraphs. It simply needs to come from your heart.

Ali Edwards

I have just returned from a Slow Stitching retreat hosted by A Gathering of Stitches and to say it was an awakening experience is a gross understatement. Sure there was quilting—some of it tiny, some of it slow, although decidedly better and therefore faster—and I’ll talk more about that in another post, but I wanted to write, before I forget, or rather to remember, that for me, this weekend ultimately became about the people and the experience, rather than the stitching. Continue reading