Friday, August 24, 2007


Compulsive Blogging Syndrome
Laugh out loud... you might not know that about me... I laugh outloud a lot. There are a lot of things that make me laugh too; like me, being dumb or random or happy. Kind of makes me laugh just thinking about it.

3 hours of sleep is all I managed. So, people might say, "Oh, you'll sleep on the plane then," as though a plane ride is an ideal time to make up for lost hours and the mad rush to the airport. I hope they are right, because I can never seem to sleep on planes, or catch-up from the rush, but I would like to though.

Maria is awake too, and she wants to snuggle, and I ask her if she would like to get dressed now, and she says, "No 'hank you. I don't like that" Lately, when she wants it to be clear that she cannot apologize, help clean, speak quietly, go to bed or cooperate in some way, she adds, solemnly, "Hipcups." Yes, hiccups are like a doctor's note, the President's pardon. I would like to employ her tactic:

Them: Pay your taxes!
Me: No thank you. Hipcups.

Them: We'll need to run some tests... please go to the lab.
Me: Sorry. No. Hipcups.

Is that it? Well, yes. I gotta get in the shower and finish shuffling stuff around. Tomorrow we will be among tall trees and golden fields, we will see rivers, barns, cows and cornfields. Joy! And we'll be in the company of family, getting hugs and sitting together on the porch. I hope we can see fireflies and maybe catch a thunderstorm. I look forward to walking into town, and seeing the children play in the yard, like their Daddy did, when he was a boy. It feels good to be where the history is familiar, and the company is too.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

We're Leaving On a Jet Plane...

This is a skimpy post, but I have to let you all know we are flying to the midwest tomorrow. It's been a long and sad week, and yet full of dear moments, finding new friends, and saying good-bye too.

I feel like I am leaving a lot undone. Well, because I am, and not being a fan of flying, I have to trust that I will return home in a week and try again to be organized and productive, efficient, neat, tidy... blah, blah, blah. You know, I think I should be glad that I was where I was needed, the children are well, my husband is awesome, I have great friends and wonderful family... everything else is just details.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

3 Cheers For Diversions

Thank you to friends who have been reaching out to us and passing along condolences to our friends. Your words and thoughts are dear to me.

So, life can move us in unexpected directions, and as we try to figure out how to cope with the ebb and flow of grief, with the sudden onset of tears, it helps to connect with friends and it helps to become absorbed in diversions. I found a way to do both. Yesterday I managed to accomplish a few responsible and practical matters, and naturally there is more to do. I also became completely immersed in sewing. I finished a third square of the Scrap-X quilt I am learning from Happy Things. Then I cut out circles for yo-yo's. Maria was playing with the squares I am preparing for some kind of a Christmas quilt... I am talking about sewing bliss, denial, distraction and losing track of time and heartbreaking emotions.

It was perfect, almost. Max asked if he could make a quilt too. I had to wake-up from my reverie and address the work and patience it would take to lead a 9 year old through his first major sewing project, and, truthfully, any other time I likely would have found some excuse to stall, to redirect, because I am a mom. Moms always have more going on than they can realistically accomplish, moms need their own activities to help them retain some fraction of their sanity, and moms need to balance guidance and intervention with letting go and trusting. This mom, anyway. Fortunately, not only have I been reminded that life is precious, I found the resolve to embrace a moment that might have gone unattended...

"OKay. Sure. I can help you make a quilt." I was calculating how much time it would take and trying to decide how much he would do and how much I should do.

He was already pulling out fat quarters of my precious stash. Be still my greedy heart. Seeing the colors and nature theme he was after I was happy to remember a collection of insect prints my Mom gave me years ago. I never could figure out what to do with them, but held on to them because they are cute and maybe some day... you know... some day I'd do something with them. Max, frog and dragonfly fan that he is, fell in love with them. I thought they were a bit bright and clashy. He thought, "What's next?"

He ironed the 1/4 and 1/2 yard fabrics.
He measured the smallest piece and we decided 5.5" squares would work best.
We cut as many squares as we could and came up with a total of 49, then I cut some solids to add to the collection.
Max asked, "What's next?" He hadn't lost any steam.

I told him he had to lay the squares out and make a design. I was daunted by the randomness of the colors and the varying amounts we had of each print, but he jumped right in and began creating a 7 by 7 square quilt. It wasn't like he was designing or planning or figuring out. He simply saw what he wanted and set it all out in a few minutes, then he made a switch of colors, because he liked the greens to be dominant...

and voila! He turned all those little squares and bold colors into a pleasing and fun pattern! Fast, easy, confident... he is masterful. I am so proud, and I have so much to learn! We finished the quilt top and he wants to add a green sash and then a blue one. It will be done in no time and he will be sleeping under it...

Thank God I stopped stalling and worrying and made time to be part of something so beautiful. Max and I had a great time working and learning together.

We connected. We enjoyed our diversion. It was perfect.
Alex wants to play next. He's thinking of a "complicated" applique quilt and I think that's perfect too. I can't wait.

I wish there were little Mending Kits for all of life's problems.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Where Are We Going?

We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

-Joni Mitchell

There's been no time to figure out how to get the iMac to download pictures. The only method that works is so slow and plodding, so ridiculous, that I cannot bear it... and there is no time. Sigh. Trivial frustration.

This has been the kind of week that is both tragic and affirming. The death of a friend has left us stunned and sad, and we are doing all we can to ease the grief of his family.

Every time I feel overwhelmed or frustrated with the usual chores and obligations, the things I have to get done, I feel horrible and guilt-ridden, because of course too much laundry, clutter on the stairs, losing track of this and that, is nothing compared with losing a loved one.

And still I am faced with the usual things... so, I sigh and give thanks, because life is full, and the details and duties go hand in hand with the blessings. We cannot always keep pace with our work, our dusting and filing... and really, in the best of circumstances I am not very good at keeping-up. Does it matter? A bit, yes. Mostly I just want to pull over and appreciate the flowers growing along the roadside, like I did on our road trip.

I am not on a long drive now, like last week. I stopped to see horses, elk, tractors and geese. I stopped to look for agates and really wasn't even sure what I was looking for. (Agates on beaches are not labeled "Pick me up, I am an Agate!") I cannot park the car, get out and peek into a roadside thrift shop or stand amid redwoods and breath in tree scented air, so instead I sew a little and clean a little, I cook a little and write a little, and I look around for Geoff and I hold his hand a lot.

So much is left unsaid. My mind wanders. My heart is heavy. Everything will be okay, in time.