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

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

Choose your words wisely.

courthouse steps

I started today with the thought that I would post something for Wordless Wednesday. As the day wore on and I have seen the multitude of pictures of people arriving in Austin, Texas for QuiltCon, I thought about writing how I feel like the only person not going. Now, alas, here I sit writing about something entirely different.

So much of what we see and read on the Internet, or blogs in particular, is sanitized, I think. I don’t mean the people who “clean up” before they photograph something. I mean that it can be difficult to find blogs that write about hard things, honest things. Maybe because those things are hard to write about. Many blogs would have us believe that the world is all rainbows and unicorns, when we know those things are really rare. Besides, those close to me know I am not a huge fan of rainbows, at least of the quilted variety. Although I do love a good real rainbow.

I (mostly) completed the January prompt for my One Little Word FORWARD this weekend and I wrote three things down which sort of hit me in the face like a 2×4 tonight. It is these kinds of ah-ha moments that make me realize that despite my unsure-ness (is that even a word) with my word choice for this year, I am right where I need to be. Settling into it, and that feels really awesome.

So what did I commit to?

MORE: blogging—LESS: thoughts left in my head. (YOU ARE HERE)

MORE: saying what I need—LESS: saying yes so as to not disappoint.

And, as part of the answer to “What do I fear most in 2015?” I wrote—“I fear the fallout that comes with saying hard things.”

And so I sit here (writing—already making progress) contemplating the question, as I often do—Who reads what I write in this space? Does it matter what I write? Who reads any space? Why do we filter? What are we afraid of? Why do we live in a society where we tiptoe around each other, trying not to upset people? Or is that just me? It can’t be just me because I know others who do it too (the tiptoeing, not necessarily the contemplating).

I had a brief conversation with someone today and the reality of the words that were said stung (or rather, that were not even spoken but that I figured out).

They were upsetting. And totally true.

I got mad. And the only person I really have to be mad at is myself.

I am reminded, as I frequently am, that if you want to see a change you have to make a change.

Noted.

Fortunately, tomorrow, we all get a second chance.

My Tribe

Frankly, I don’t know when it happened, but slowly, over the course of several years I have found my tribe. My tribes. A Venn diagram of friendship. I have been thinking a lot about this recently, but even more so after receiving so many lovely and supportive comments on my recent post. But let me step back a little…

I have never (until recently) had many close girlfriends. I grew up in a weird neighborhood. The kind where the kids were of scattered age and from varied social/economic status. Our houses didn’t all look the same. We didn’t all click. In high school I had one “best” friend but even she and I grew apart after high school as our lives went separate paths in our college years (although I am happy to say she and I have rekindled our relationship). I was always a “cool girl” who had more guy friends, than girlfriends. A natural, but feminine, tomboy I guess. Frankly I just didn’t have time for the b.s. and drama of most female relationships. And frankly, guys were just more fun to hang out with. I had lots of “older brothers.”

But as I aged this bothered me. I would latch on to a close girlfriend in each of my college pursuits but as soon as that degree was over we would drift apart. I finally smartened up to my character flaw and began new relationships with women whom I thought had excellent friend potential with an honest disclosure, “I will be your friend for life so long as you accept that I won’t keep in contact.” ‘Til this day I am still friends with the first person I confessed that honest truth to. And we don’t stay in close contact, but we do periodically touch base and make time for a girl’s trip every few years or so. The most magical thing is that we just pick up where we left off. There is no judging, or resentment. Just staying up too late giggling and catching up, shopping for make-up neither of us needs, and spending too much time shopping at discount stores (#vivaROSSvegas). You know—girl stuff.

Fast-forward several years to when I found a new tribe, my first quilt tribe, of talented and caring women at a quilt retreat I ended up attending for several years in northern Michigan. The circumstances under which I attended my first retreat were either odd or serendipitous; you be the judge. We were all Beaver Island Quilt Retreat “newbies”—fifth weekers (and actually our small group grew over the course of a couple of years, but still, we don’t keep score). The connection was instantaneous; the relationships are gratifying. These are the women I reached out to last week to talk me off the “quilt ledge” so to speak. That is another story for another time. But these women offered me love and support, and solutions. They understood me and what I was going through, am going through. They sent kind words like “As the new day moves forward and life continues, I am still thinking of your heatbreak…Not forgotten.” [heart gushing]. My Ladies.

And when I moved to Utah, I found yet another tribe. This one took a little time, and has been refined even more in the last few years. The women whom I could call at any time of the day, for any reason, and they would come with open arms. The ones who will listen to my rants about this or that quilting issue du jour. My prosthelytizing about the tenets of liberated quiltmaking and breaking rules. My singer featherweight sisters. Some of whom, in a good year, will even pay to run through clouds of color or electric forests with me all in the name of fun.

And then there are those whom I have never met (although I have met a few) from the interwebs and social medias. Those whom I have developed a great love for their work, their writing, their unique points-of-view. Those people who offer words of support either directly through comments and “likes” or who don’t say a thing but who I know are there cheering me along the way because I am doing exactly the same for them, for you. For years I have heard people extolling the blessings of the internet and the “blogging community” but I felt like an outsider. Many of these relationships developed before “flickr was dead” and before I even “existed” in the digital sense of the word. I was skeptical because I reached out one time to a successful blogger thinking we had a connection, but I guess it was just one sided. A one-sided quilt-girl-crush and she broke my heart. But then I got better, and I rose above it, and I realized you were here, we were here, just waiting to find each other. And for that I am truly grateful.