Thursday, December 29, 2005


Big brother called me about 30 minutes ago to tell me he is home from the hospital!

I'm an emotional mess all over again...

... but it's the good kind of emotional mess.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Insanity and Exhaustion and Healing... Oh My!

It's end of month and end of year at work... absolute insanity and exhaustion abound.

But big brother is healing and recovering... hallelujah!

They are still doing tests to try to find the damn aneurysm. If they find it, they can fix it.

May there be mercy and they find it...

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Gift

Merry Christmas!

The best gift... talking to big brother today...

... and hugs from my sweet husband while I cried after.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Set Backs

Mama says big brother slept most of yesterday and today... which is a set back. I hate medical set backs. Have had enough of them myself that I understand 'em. Don't like 'em, but understand 'em.

I think it's a result of, and a response to, the CT scan he had yesterday. Body has to adjust to, and deal with, the dyes used, eh?

All I know is that I want him well enough to talk to me... so I can tell him how badly he scared me and to knock this sh*% off!

When he was awake, his step-daughter told him that SHE was the spoiled princess of the family and that he was to knock this off because he was taking the attention off of her. Big brother smiled at that. He knows his kids well... and I love that comment from her!

The good news is that he will still be here for Christmas!

Continued prayers for mercy on my big brother.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Big brother is making very good progress now. He woke up hungry yesterday and has started eating. He’s also been able to maintain consciousness well, which is great news.

He won’t be home for Christmas, but who cares? His wife and Mama and my sister will take Christmas to him.

Continued prayers for healing and for mercy on my big brother.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

No changes

Continued prayers for mercy on my big brother...

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Far From Family

When the phone call came, I didn’t even recognize my sweet Mama’s voice.

Yep, got one of those horrible phone calls this week. The one that tells you that someone you love dearly is in the ER… and he might not make it.

It just can’t be my big brother. It can’t.

But it is.

My oldest brother is in ICU with a massive brain bleed that they believe is an aneurysm. They believe this, but they can’t find the damn thing to fix it. Four days of waiting and tests… and they still haven’t been able to find it.

Times like this I hate being 1300 miles away from my family.

But Mama says not to come yet.

So I wait for the phone calls to tell me the latest news, while trying to keep my mind occupied. It isn’t easy.

This is my favorite brother, whom I have always adored.

I know I’m not supposed to have a favorite, but come on, who doesn’t???

This is the one who protected me… walked me to school the 2nd day of kindergarten… was my babysitter… comforted me when Jimmy Y told me that there wasn’t any Santa on that 2nd day of kindergarten… told me that Jimmy Y was a big fat liar… the one who always fixed my car when we lived in the same town… the one who bought me a stuffed animal that was actually taller than me, which was hard to do since I’ve always been tall… the one who ran to Burger King the day of my wedding to grab some lunch for a bride who was starving… the one with whom I’d have eating contests until we were both so sick we wished we could throw up… the one who held my hand and talked and laughed and cried with me in October when we talked about how much we missed our Daddy…

I so desperately want him to be okay…

… may there be mercy on my big brother…

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Return to Reality

Vacation was amazing and wonderful. I've been spoiled rotten by friends and family... and wondering how to continue that!

Actually, my sweet husband really does spoil me quite a bit.

I need sleep tonight to rest up for the work week ahead. It's end of month and also end of year, so there is much chaos... and overtime.

May there be mercy...

Monday, November 28, 2005

Disjointed Thoughts...

This is a jumble of disjointed thoughts tonight.

Heading to sleep... flying out in the morning to finally meet my aunts and my friends. I'm excited and wonder if I'll sleep at all.

Oregon was a blast, as it always is. My friends are amazing people who welcome us with joy and fun every year. The 3rd Annual Day After Thanksgiving Breakfast was a wonderful time of chatting, laughing and comfort foods.

Today was a lovely time over lunch with my mentor and dear, dear friend. I love vacation time when I can have a leisurely lunch with her and not have to race back to the office in an hour.

Snow expected tonight, which makes me nervous for the drive to Sea-Tac. We have to get up so early already to get there in time for checking in. Thank goodness I only do carry on luggage.

Sleep calls... may there be mercy...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

40 Hours

It’s official… Right now I have only 40 hours of official work time left before vacation! Of course that doesn’t count overtime, which I do seem to work every day. But who can count overtime hours on the countdown to vacation?

On this vacation, I’m taking a trip and it’s just for me. It’s going to be a 5 state journey into past, present and future.

Part of this trip is to visit longtime friends… folks we have known for 18 years. With much pride, we have watched their son grow from a cute little boy into a man and a soldier. We’ve shared each other’s pain in times of trouble. We have rejoiced together and laughed and teased. It’s become tradition to spend Thanksgiving with them. And it is always good.

Part of the trip is to discover my past and my family. I’ll be meeting my birth father’s 3 sisters… my aunts, for the first time. When I met my birth father, it was a great experience. I can expect no less from his sisters because they have been equally as wonderful to me over the phone.

Part of this trip is to discover my friends. I have a great group of online friends, a couple of whom I’ve met previously. This trip, I get to see one of them for our 3rd Annual Day After Thanksgiving Breakfast and then I get to meet more of them as I travel. It will be cool to see who they are in person compared to who they are in my mind and heart.

When they meet me, I wonder how the real me will compare to the person they have in their minds and hearts.

So far, when I’ve gotten to meet people from this online group, it’s been a feeling of coming home to friends I’ve known forever. I cannot imagine this would be any different… and I am so excited!

Oregon, Washington, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama… a whirlwind 5-state journey of discovery and fun.

Hoping the 40 hours pass quickly…

Friday, November 11, 2005

Broken memories… broken hearts

I made a discovery this week that breaks my heart.

My sweet mother-in-law has not only forgotten who I am… she has forgotten a large portion of her 77 years of life. I hate Alzheimer's.

Earlier this week we had a moment of grace when she knew who I was and actually introduced me to someone. That happens rarely, if at all, anymore.

Last night I realized that she currently thinks of “home” as a place she lived in many years ago… in Pontiac, Michigan, where my husband was born, and where they last lived in 1957.

Till now, "home" has been San Diego, California.

Home to her has moved from that lovely place in San Diego. Now, “home” to her is Pontiac, Michigan and more specifically a home that they lived in when my 55-year-old husband was a 3-year-old boy.

I don’t think she even knows she is in Washington now.

She has lost 48 years of her life and memory… and my heart is broken for her.

My husband tells me that this is harder on us than on her. And I know he is right, even though his heart aches, too.

It does not matter that this is harder on us than her. My heart still breaks for her.

I truly am grateful she still remembers her husband of 57 years.

I truly am grateful she remembers her children. (ages 55 and 53)

I truly am grateful for the moments she remembers me, her daughter-in-law of 19 years.

And yet…

… my heart breaks for the person she was…

… and the losses in relationships…

… and most importantly, what an indicator of a big decline this is in her life.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Sewing... sewing... sewing

Still working on the table runner project... but number 5 of 7 is now done. Yay! I need to take a break from these because I'm getting bored with the construction process.

I do love how pretty they are when done.

I've got a list of other things I need to make for Christmas and birthday gifts, so I'm going to start on those now and then come back to the last 2 table runners. One is for my office gift exchange, so it can wait a few weeks.

Working overtime, so I'm tired. Early bedtime... may there be mercy on my sleep... and mercy on my day tomorrow.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Where are my Blogs?

I haven’t been blogging as much as I’d like to lately. It’s because I’ve been sewing like crazy.

I have a project I’m working on for my family and friends for Christmas. I’m making quilted table runners. They need to be done so that I can have them in people’s hands around December 1st. I want them to be able to enjoy these for the entire Christmas season, so they are getting their Christmas gifts early… if I can get them all done.

I’ve got 4 done now and 3 more to go... maybe 4 or 5. I might actually get the table runners done in the next 10 days. If I keep sewing each evening and my sweet husband can tolerate a long series of fast and fairly simple dinners. Maybe that’s if I can tolerate that series of dinners! I do love to cook.

There are a couple other sewing projects for Christmas gifts, for those people who just would not appreciate (or use) a table runner.

My mother will get a sweatshirt embroidered with a dachshund on the front… and a funny saying like “in my next life I want to be Mama’s dog!”

My Father-in-law will get a shirt with his initials embroidered on it… and also a lap quilt for the colder evenings.

My Mother-in-law will get a pretty shirt with kitties embroidered on it… she loves kitties, especially Siamese, and still remembers what they are. (Have I mentioned lately that I hate Alzheimer’s?)

Things have been crazy lately, but I have been making time to sew… and sewing is such a relaxing tool for me…

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


In my heart, I named my child Grace.
It was really Jennifer Grace, because my husband wanted a daughter named Jenny. But I always call her Grace.
Child of body… child of love…
… lost exactly 8 weeks after the adoption of your sister flipped.
…do you look down from Heaven at us, your Mommy and Daddy, and at the girl who should have been your sister?
… do you know that we miss you each and every day?
…do you know that we love you still?
I have said in the past about the adoption flipping, that I swear sometimes that my heart stopped beating then and has never really been able to start again.
After we lost Grace, my heart ... shattered.
Some days, when I think of Grace, it shatters all over again.
It took a very long time, years in fact, for my heart to heal enough to talk about Grace.
It took a very long time for my heart to heal enough to do more than just day-to-day survival.
It took a very long time to learn to live again.
Grace was the only child we were ever able to conceive. We lost her before we could hold her in our arms, but loved her as much as human hearts can love. We still do.
… your sister was the child of my heart….
… you were the child of body and love…
… we miss you both…
… and love you always…

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

It's the Little Things...

Ya know, it’s the little things in life that really touch my heart.

A call from my Mama to tell me she’s made my favorite dinner for the upcoming weekend when I will be there. She lives in another state, so while dinner itself is a small thing, dinner at her home is a special event.

An email from my brother to tell me he loves me… even though we haven’t communicated in 10 years due to his drug addiction and prison sentences.

A husband who will run errands for me… to the fabric store of all places, to get a yard of a specific fabric. And when they are so busy that he can see that they can’t leave the cutting tables to help him find the specific fabric, he finds it himself… gets it cut into the proper length… and comes home to tell me they are having a sale.

A friend at work who leaves me cards of encouragement and caring when she sees I’m having a hard time. It’s really cool that she sees what I hide from others.

My Q-friend who emails me the newsy things that happen in her day… and who encourages me by her completely positive attitude.

A group of online friends who care enough about one another to make sure that each of us is going to be emotionally okay, even when things are difficult for the person doing the checking.

KK, who, despite a disability that exhausts her, stays upbeat and encourages me and takes my phone calls at totally odd hours of the day.

E, who is an amazing cheerleader and makes me laugh, even when I think I don't have any laughter left inside me.

KC, who will put already prepared meals in my fridge when I am gone this weekend... so that my husband will have dinners while I am away. She wants to make sure I don’t have to stress about making sure he is fed while I am gone.

A husband who gets up at 5 a.m., when he doesn’t have to do so, just to make me coffee... ya just gotta love a man who will do this for his wife when he could be sleeping.

A husband who loves me... enough to give up sleep...

It’s the little things that really touch my heart.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Thumper’s Adage

My office has been an unhappy place to be lately. Everyone is so very busy and so very stressed. It’s awful.

Of course the stress spills over onto co-workers… and relationships are being hit kinda hard right now. There has been a ton of backbiting, gossip and trashing one another going on.

I hate to admit that I’ve done my share.

This morning I made a decision while driving to work. I’m joining Thumper and follow the adage…

“If ya can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nuttin’ at all.”

I told a friend that I’m going to have to work hard at the floppy ear thing and the scuffing my toe in the dirt while saying it. Probably can get that foot-thumping thing pretty well if I work at it.

But I’m tired of the office being a place to gripe. So I’m starting to change things in my little corner.

It was quiet in my corner of the office today. No one could tell it was quiet because the office was its usual dull roar of conversations, telephones ringing, customers being helped and office machines. The normal office noises were there.

But my corner was quiet.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Good Bye

Good bye SqueakersCat... my baby...

We will miss you... much.....

5/20/92 - 9/28/05

Go play with your sister RowdyGirl.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Overtime and Alzheimer’s

We are working a lot of overtime right now.

Working overtime doesn’t bother me. I like the extra money in my paycheck and I like the work I do. Sometimes I can even get almost double my normal production out in a single day… and only work 1 extra hour. It always surprises me how much I can accomplish when there aren’t any interruptions.

Alzheimer’s is an interruption of accomplishment.

My sweet mother-in-law has Alzheimer’s… and it has interrupted so much.

She used to be an intelligent woman. Politically savvy, able to converse on many subjects, loving and humorous.

Now, she is a difficult mix of petulant child, sweet little girl and very confused adult.

I said to someone the other day that I miss her. The person told me to go over to the nursing home and see her.

Not that simple. When I say that I miss her, it means I miss who she used to be in her vibrancy and intelligence. I miss having a real conversation with her.

I miss her knowing who I am.

Sometime last year, her mind lost me and who I am in relationship to her. When I visit her, she is always sweet to me, but it is obvious she doesn’t know me. I wonder sometimes who she thinks I am.

My mother-in-law’s 78th birthday is Friday. We will go as a family to have a celebration together at the nursing home. We’ll take her some special chocolates and a sweatshirt on which I will embroider a Siamese cat… her two favorite things in life… chocolate and Siamese cats. Thankfully two things which she can still identify.

It won’t be an easy birthday celebration. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like we should celebrate her birthdays.

But every year she surprises us and announces that her birthday is coming. She’s in there somewhere… and peeks out when she can. We cherish the times that she is more lucid and aware.

So we will celebrate who she is now… and who she was… and hope she peeks out on Friday.

Friday, September 16, 2005

In Loving Memory

Today is the 10th anniversary of the passing of a man who has had the most influence in my life… and always holds a most special place in my heart.

…Daddy… I miss you still…

A man of integrity and honor, full of teasing and humor… and love. He married Mama when she already had 4 children and then went about the very difficult process of adopting my older brothers and me.

There are a few things about my life and character that must be attributed to his example and teaching.

  • Always keep your word, no matter the cost to yourself.
  • If you say you will do something, do it. Period.
  • Learn to think for yourself.
  • Love your family, no matter what. They are the only family you will get. You don’t have to agree with them, just love them. It won’t be easy.

I knew I was adopted, but more importantly, I knew who my Daddy was… because the adoption didn’t matter as to who I am. He always loved me as if I were his biological child.

I remember going to the courthouse for the adoption. I was about 9. Mom made special dresses for my sister and I. My brothers all had their Sunday School clothes on… and we were not in school that day!

Our cousin was the family lawyer and he called us all into the judge’s chambers. Since we were all a little older, the judge actually asked each of us if we wanted to be adopted by Daddy… and I remember him asking me if I wanted Daddy to be my Daddy.

I also remember looking at the judge like he was an idiot. Of course I wanted him for my Daddy… he already was.

I remember Mama cried when the judge signed the papers. I remember going out for a special lunch that day after court.

I remember Daddy hugging Mama.

Most of my favorite childhood memories involve my blessed Daddy.

Going to the San Diego Zoo on Sundays.
Riding the Carousel in Balboa Park, over and over… while he waited patiently.
Visiting the International Hospitality Houses and sampling the international cookies. Getting a hand-made, fresh tortilla in the Museum of Man.
Holding Daddy’s hand and feeling safe.
Going to the Chicken Pie Shop in San Diego for dinner. It was the only “real” restaurant we could afford to go to as a family when I was growing up. $2.15 for a complete chicken pie, gravy, mashed potatoes and veggie dinner. Amazingly good… and still one of the best places to go in San Diego for a meal.

Friday night donuts… how do I describe those…

Daddy got off work at 2 a.m. We would go to bed on Friday nights… hoping… tonight might be one of the “special” Friday nights. It really might be one of the nights when Daddy woke us all up at 3 a.m. – because we had been good all week – with fresh, HOT donuts… each of us getting our absolute favorite donut, fresh and hot at 3 a.m. Having time as a family to laugh and enjoy a very special treat… and then going back to bed. Sleeping in on Saturday morning and waking to the memory of that wonderful treat. Knowing that none of our friends had such a fun Friday night surprise.

The smell of maple bars always takes me back to those Friday nights.

Diabetes took both of Daddy’s legs, but not his spirit and love of family. He strove to teach us something every single day of his life. Most times the lesson had only to do with his love for us.

It took a very long time for Daddy to learn to actually say the words, “I love you.” He showed his love in his everyday actions, but rarely said the words.

I was 26 years old the night before he lost his 2nd leg, talking on the phone with him and ended our conversation with my usual “I love you Daddy!” I almost dropped the phone when his reply was, “I love you, too, baby.”

It was the first time he had ever told me he loved me, in actual words. Of course I burst into tears after hanging up the phone… and had to explain to my worried roommates that my Daddy loved me!

Once said, it seemed he could not say it enough. Every phone call, every visit to him, every chance he got, he told each of us that he loved us. Precious music to our ears.

Daddy always made a point of making sure we knew he was proud of our accomplishments. From the small stuff to the big awards, his booming voice would always ring out… “I’m proud of you!”

The end was not simple, nor was it easy for Daddy. He had a massive silent heart attack that should have killed him instantly. Instead it destroyed ¾ of his heart, making him ineligible for even a heart transplant.

Once they figured out what was wrong with him, the doctor told him to do anything he had on his list. The doc could not say if Daddy had 2 minutes, 2 hours, 2 days or 2 years left. Just get your affairs in order and enjoy what time you have left.

The remaining time was a very hard 8 months. His body shut down gradually and very painfully. And yet, he remained true to who he was, a man of integrity and honor, full of teasing and humor… and love.

We had our last conversation on the day he died. I live in another state, so I was not there at the end.

Because Daddy was so weak then, my sister held the phone to Daddy’s ear for him. He was too weak to really talk, so I talked to him. I chatted like I normally would, telling him about my day and that we knew it was time for him to go. Then I told Daddy that I would hold in my heart 2 very special memories. Sundays when we would go to Balboa Park or the zoo and ride the carousel… and our Friday night donuts.

My sister told me later that he smiled his big, special Daddy smile when I said that.

What he said then, I carry in my heart to this day and forever.

“I love you, baby, and I am so proud of you.”

Time with Daddy… his voice… his laugh… his teasing… his pride and love…

Oh… how I miss you Daddy...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Mercy and sleep

Cause... exhaustion....

Remedy... sleep...

Tonight will be an effort to have the sleep remedy the exhaustion.

Have had difficult conversations with family members tonight. Nothing horrible, just horribly unpleasant in that I see destruction in the path of some.

This week is not pleasant anyway, so add this unpleasantness and it feels awful to me.

I really need restful sleep!

May there be mercy... on it all... both sleep and family... may there be mercy...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Too much stress and not enough sleep are a bad combination. My immune system can't take too much without shutting down on me, resulting in repeating cycles of 2 weeks sick, 2 days well.

Right now there is so much stress that it is hard to get good sleep... or enough sleep. Leaves me dancing at the edge of that cycle.

Tonight, exhaustion claims me. I need to listen to what my body is telling me. A few days of very low activity and taking extra good care of me are what I need to avoid getting into the sick cycle.

Sleep... blessed sleep...

Monday, September 12, 2005

Completed Project

My first quilt is now a completed project. Tomorrow I'll hang it on my wall. Tonight, I sit and enjoy looking at how pretty it turned out.

I didn't think I'd ever take up quilting. Never thought I had the patience for a hobby that took so much time to actually complete something.

Rubber stamping, there's a hobby for someone who is into instant gratification! Stamp the designs on paper and voila! Instant greeting card. Stamp the design on a candle and voila! Instant gift. Stamp the design on my wall and voila! Instant re-decorating.

Still love rubber stamping, but for years now I have missed sewing projects.

I discovered that I have always had the patience for quilting. For pity's sake, I used to make bridesmaid's and wedding dresses! If those don't take patience to make, I don't know what does.

It really had to do with my desire to learn the art of quilting. Now that I have the desire... and a completed project under my belt... I can hardly wait to take a class to learn how many mistakes I made and how to do it better next time.

I'm tired tonight. But my quilt is done and I feel good.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Possibilities and Dreams

Travel! I absolutely love to travel... but simply cannot afford to do as much travel as I'd like to do. Paying for medical expenses that have not been covered by insurance has taken most available money for travel.

So I stash bits of money aside in the hopes of travel.

Dreaming for time and ability to go places....

... see different things...

... experience different cultures...

... try exotic foods...

Stashes in hopes, dreaming of possibilities.

Tonight, I found a possibility. It isn't a big deal to most people, but it is to me.

I'm an adopted kid (on the side of the father only) who never cared to meet her birth father. I had a wonderful and loving Daddy who adopted me. He made my world shine with possibilities and love and joy and pride in my accomplishments. I never needed anyone else to fill that "official" role of father... because I had my Daddy.

About the time I turned 40, I ended up in the ER with chest pains. The ER doc actually asked me if I had any relatives who had died young from a heart attack. When I could not answer, she told me that I needed to find out... if at all possible... and SOON.

I had long talks with friends who gave wise counsel. My mother and I talked it over. I prayed a LOT. And then, I wrote to him... my birth father... to get that valued medical information.

I got that valued medical informaion. But I also got a more valuable relationship with my birth father... and his sisters, my aunts... and a new brother and sister... and the various children that each of them had! WOW!

Last year, I got to take a trip and meet my birth father. Since I had never cared to meet him, I was surprised to find it an emotional journey. Silly me. Of course it would be emotional to meet my birth father. I met my brother and sister...and it shocked me to discover that she has my nose. The exact same nose I see in the mirror every single day of my life. On another face... that looks hauntingly like mine...

And now, in the realm of possibilities and dreams... and in just a few weeks, I get to meet my birth father's sisters... my aunts.

One is a little on the hard-core side, married 9 times now, but I hear she has a marshmallow heart. She never treated my mother right, but I will give her a chance all on her own. She may have mellowed with age. I know she has some great stories to tell.

One has been married to a preacher for 55 years... and told me one day that she has prayed for me every single day of my life... even when I didn't know she existed. I get shivers every time I think about this... what an impact on a life when she never knew if she would ever meet me on this earth.

One, the last of the 3 sisters and aunts, shows me exactly how I will look at age 70, 75, 80... apparently I have been the spitting image of her all my life and never knew it. I see pictures of her and wonder at how in the world I can look so much like another person. In my family, I was called the pretty and sweet one. In her family, she was called the pretty and sweet one. I know now that I inherited almost all of my medical issues from her. I know from the medical issues already manifest in my life what may also come to pass for me. Some good, some kind of scary. It's okay. I also inherited a lot of other things and personality traits... and I can hardly stand the wait before meeting her in person.

I looked into these people with the dream of finally having all of the medical information I needed. Instead, I found an additional family... and another saturation of love in my life.

Possibilities and dreams...

Saturations of love...

... and a little travel for fun!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Chaos and quilts

I spent time working on my first quilt tonight. Sewing is a great relaxation tool for me. Now, the top is completed and this weekend I will put the layers together and do the actual "quilting". I can hardly wait!

Right now I need the relaxation tool. Stress is huge and I have to do something to break it for myself.

Work is chaotically busy. We just got the numbers for August and it was almost a record breaking month for new orders.

A co-worker has been treating me terribly for a long time. I finally came to the conclusion that I never did anything to her to deserve this treatment and that she has chosen to be miserable... and to try to take everyone she can down her path of misery. I refuse to go with her down her path. Misery is not my way... too much to enjoy in life. So the next time she acts ugly to me, she's in for a shock. I'm not going to ignore it and act like everything is fine. She and the other co-workers will be quite surprised.

My sweet Mother-In-Law has Alzheimer's. She doesn't know who I am now... which breaks my heart for my husband, who will be next. It's horrible to watch an intelligent woman who has been politically savvy all of her life, degenerate into a childlike mind that can only tell us that she wants to go home. And yet, we love her each moment we still have her.

My sister is getting married. Normally that would be cause for a celebration. The man she is marrying is not committed to her... sets off all my alarms that he is an abuser... and I am afraid for her. Her loneliness is screaming and she is not paying attention to anything or anyone else.

Chaos and stress everywhere.

And so I quilt. It's a new hobby and craft, but it relaxes me. I find joy in seeing small pieces of fabric come together to form a beautiful whole.

And so I quilt.

Friday, September 02, 2005


My husband is far more tenderhearted than he lets anyone know. It peeks out when someone he loves is ill… and it didn’t just peek out this week, that tender heart roared out.

He has had a special bond with our cats. It was horrible when RowdyGirl died and this week was equally awful as we contemplated letting Squeakers go.

Yesterday’s time at the vet seemed to confirm that she was just too sick and we were going to have to say goodbye. She had a raging infection, a collapsed lung and a huge tumor where her right kidney should be.

The doc was concerned about that tumor more than anything… and really wanted a radiologist to look over the x-rays. I didn’t see any reason to prolong our agony, or hers.

My sweet husband just could not say the words to let her go. So, we let the vet send the x-rays to the radiologist and left Squeakers complaining loudly at the vet’s office… IV fluids and antibiotics going.

I cannot believe that we got such a huge reprieve today… the tumor is not cancer! Her kidney is calcified, but the other one functions perfectly normally. The antibiotics are working already.

Squeakers is home! Complaining about being taken to THAT place, but she is home.

I am just so happy to hear her complaining right now that I can’t tell her to hush. Complain away, my kitty, complain away… you’re home.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


It's a sad evening here as my husband and I realize that our sweet kitty is very sick... and that tomorrow she will go to the vet, most likely never to return home.

Not having kids, our kitties became our children... and got all the attention and love a beloved child would have.

Yep, spoiled kitties here.

A year ago, due to diabetes, we had to put down our sweet RowdyGirl Kitty. It broke our hearts... including the SqueakersCat, who got lonely for her sister.

Squeakers got a little neurotic... and a lot more attached to my husband. Lately, she's been attached to me, too.

Squeakers has had a lot of nicknames over the years...

Baby Good Morning Kitty
Squeaker T. Beast (T stands for "the")
Squeaker T.

Whatever we've called her, she's known we were talking to her and loving her.

When she started losing weight, we thought it was the heat and weather. When she hid under the bed, we thought she missed my husband when he went back to work. Were we just blind?

Now, it's obvious that she is sick.

And tomorrow is heartbreakingly NOT looking good for this home team.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Diverse day

It's been another interesting day with many diverse thoughts.

Several friends been pretty close to the path of Hurricane Katrina. I fretted about them quite a bit. Each has checked in and each is doing well. The one closest to the storm had a huge tree fall, just missing her home. The others have had tornado warnings all day long. I am just happy the storm didn't hurt my friends.

It's end of month at work. Chaos. One co-worker dared to call in sick... saying she'd be in tomorrow. Yeah, right. Her pattern is to call in sick on Monday, say she will be in on Tuesday... and take the entire week off, never really 'fessing up to what was wrong with her... but always having a lovely new wardrobe.

Upcoming long weekend... earlier this summer, we planned to go away for the long Labor Day weekend, but realized that we might not be able to do so with my husband's job situation. Put it on the back burner and gave up the idea. Today, we made reservations for a romantic getaway! I'm already planning for our time together away from home and the stresses of life.

Quilting... YES! After work and dinner, I came into my sewing room and got lost in my first quilt project. Oh... this is such fun! I've got the quilt top about 2/3 done and might even finish the top tomorrow. Already I am tickled with how pretty it is!

Sleep... oh, yeah, that sleep thing. Maybe, just maybe, this quilting bug is a good thing for relaxing me, relieving stress and letting me release creative energy... and allow me a good night's sleep.

May there be mercy on my sleep tonight...

Sunday, August 28, 2005

When Pigs Fly

We had dinner tonight at my best girlfriend's home. We've been friends for almost 20 years now, KC and I... and I've been friends with her husband for even longer. Their children are our godchildren and we get some pretty funny stories about the kids day-to-day lives.

My goddaughter is 12... almost a teenager and very much a drama queen. I call her Sweet Pea. Once she got old enough to understand that a sweet pea is a flower and not sweet "pee", she decided she liked her nickname from me!

My godson is 5. I call him Monster Boy. Not because he is one, but because it was an affectionate name that my own sweet Daddy used to call each of us. Monster Boy doesn't realize that this is a name of affection yet, he just looks at me like I'm a little silly and says, "I'M not a monster!" He has an adorable lisp, but it's fading. Someday he won't say it as "monser."

KC has always enjoyed teasing her kids. When they want something they can't have, instead of just saying "no", KC will usually say to go over to the window... look outside... and tell her if pigs are flying. It's always been humorous. Usually gets a good eye-roll from Sweet Pea and the understanding that the answer is no.

Tonight, Monster Boy wanted a treat just before dinner. KC told him to go over to the window... look outside... and tell her if pigs were flying. We went back to conversation, forgetting that this was the first time she had said this to Monster Boy.

In the middle of our conversation, Monster Boy comes running back to announce, "There's no pigs ANYWHERE out there Mom!"

He was a little embarrassed when we all broke out laughing. Good thing that 5-year-olds get over that quickly.

It was a great evening of wonderful food, time with friends who are family and laughter.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Creative blocks

This morning I started to write about creative blocks. I have some lovely, hand painted denim fabric on my sewing table. I keep it there until I can decide what to do with it. It’s a gift from a dear, dear friend and I want to actually use it on a something for myself.

Normally I am fairly creative, can just look at something and know pretty much what to do with it. This fabric has me stumped.

It feels silly to me. It really shouldn’t be quite so difficult to decide on what project to place this fabric.

But… this fabric is special to me, and therein lies the difference. Most fabric I purchase or cut from old clothes that no longer fit, but I still like the pattern. This one, I didn’t purchase. This one was done special, with someone thinking of me while she painted it!

The lady who painted it for me is one of those special people in life. Funny, charming, loving, compassionate, supportive, encouraging and a sense of humor that won’t quit.

And, amazingly, while we have corresponded almost daily for over 2 years, and we talk on the phone weekly, we have never met. I am blessed to count her among my dear, dear friends. Someday we will meet… and I look forward to that time!

Now, the difficulty has become obvious to me. I have too many choices of things I could do with this fabric.

I can add it into a quilt and hang it on my wall.
I can make pillows with it and enjoy them in my living room.
I can add it to my denim jacket, making a one-of-a-kind piece.
I can make a tote bag with it for my day-to-day things to take to work.

The possibilities are endless with a lovely piece of hand-painted fabric.

Breaking the creative block has become a necessity in my heart! I want to use this fabric and soon!

So I went to a fabric store today and spent quite a bit of time talking with the owner. What a fun place! Since I already sew, my next goal is to begin quilting. That was the real purpose of the visit to the fabric shop. To talk about classes and supplies and how-to and… buy the items for a first project!

The creative block had me stumped on getting started on a quilting project, too.

But that visit to the fabric shop made the difference. My creative juices are flowing. I am seeing projects in the existing fabrics on my shelves. I have a better idea what I will do with my hand-painted fabric.

The shopkeeper helped so much! I now have a book, the fabric and the tools to start my very first quilt. It is a gift to myself and will hang in my home. The fabric has been washed and is waiting for me to begin cutting…

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Outside my office window

Interesting things happen outside my office window.

I have a desk in the corner of the office... and the blessing of not only 1, but 2 windows. The light pours in year round. I love it.

It's a fairly private little spot as far as customers are concerned. They come into our lobby and cannot see me. Others great them and help them. I happen to like this arrangement because it allows me to concentrate and get a lot of work done.

But... as they walk from the parking lot to the front door, they pass by my windows. Interesting things happen outside my office window!

There are the couples that are obviously very young and purchasing their first home. I can see the excitement on their faces and the thoughts of how it will be... once they have moved in and claimed it as "home".

There are people who have been in financial trouble and are refinancing their existing home. Their faces are sullen, sometimes hopeful and sometimes sad. They are hoping for a fresh start, but not certain things will really work out.

I see customers who live in my community, who smile and wave at me as they pass by.

There are couples in the middle of a fight. I can see their ongoing arguments and the anger, even though I cannot hear the words.

I see ambulances and fire trucks and police cars racing down the boulevard... and pray for those on the other end of their hurried flight.

There are people who use the pay phones in the gas station next door to the office. Some are families in transit and some are obvious drug dealers.

The Fed-Ex lady, who will one day hit my desk with her truck since she drives so fast in our parking lot. I swear she is gonna come through the building and hit me.

One day I looked up to see a guy picking his nose!

Another day, I looked up and smiled at the customer... only to have him wink at me.

I see the trees changing with the seasons. The rain pouring down or the sunshine bathing me in pure light.

Interesting things happen outside my office window.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Long day...

I woke up at 3 this morning... coughing. Ugh! Never got back to sleep, so it's been a long day.

But I decided to find the good in the day, in spite of my exhausted state.

I had tea with honey.
I was surprisingly productive at work.
My best girlfriend called me to meet her for lunch and we got to sit outside in the sunshine.
A friend gave a wine recommendation.
I got to chat with online friends.
My husband hugged me when I got home.

Not an exhaustive list, but since I happen to BE exhausted, it works.

Now, for a good night's sleep and prayer for mercy on my tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Dreaded words

To me, some of the most dreaded words in the English language are “why don’t you just adopt?”
… as in Nike’s ad that says Just Do It.
… as if it were that simple.
Yes, millions of people have adopted, and I am an adopted kid. But, to quote the old saying, things are never as easy as they seem.
There are many factors involved in adoption that are not generally known. I mean, hey, who wants to know exactly what their dentist does. Much better if I don’t have to know more of the details than the fact he fixes my teeth. Not the gruesome details of how. Since most people don’t need to know the details of adoption, they assume it is easy.
The actual legal steps usually aren’t that difficult. With your attorney’s help, you follow the procedures. Once all the steps have been taken, boom! You’re a parent.
The emotional steps and questions are much harder.
Open adoption or closed?
What race child do you want? Or do you care?
Will you accept a child with emotional and/or physical disabilities?
What about parental drug use while pregnant?
Will both the parents sign off on the adoption?
Can I love a child that isn’t biologically mine?
What happens to our hearts when it doesn’t work out?
I don’t try to educate people anymore about the processes and the heartache. They still ask why we didn’t Just Adopt.
When it happens, I close off my shrieking heart, and quietly tell them… sometimes it just doesn’t work out.
And when I leave them, I pray for my little girl, the child of my heart…

Monday, August 22, 2005

1 a.m. and all is not well…

Last night, after a great evening with friends I thought I’d sleep well. That’s usually my pattern… good food, great conversation and lots of laughter equate to a really wonderful night’s sleep for me.
Instead, after about 2 hours of sleep, I awoke at 1 a.m.
I told the girls at work that I was up all night coughing… which is partially true. I do have a cold and I did cough a bunch last night.
But I’m really dreading tomorrow more.
It’s the anniversary of a loss for my husband and me. A loss that represents a lot more than the words on a page or computer could ever convey.
We always wanted children, but were never blessed with them. When we married, we knew it would be difficult to conceive… my body just doesn’t work properly. It never has. We figured that if we couldn’t produce a biological child, adoption would be just fine. Heck, I’m adopted and my mother is, too. Adoption is as natural as breathing to me.
A few years ago, an opportunity to adopt came up. A baby girl, aged 8 months.
We were told that if we were interested, we could have her in our home very quickly. She became mine, a child of my heart, at that point when we told them yes, let’s pursue this.
At long last… we were going to have a baby girl! I stopped that night on the way home from work. Wandered through Target looking at baby items – for me! Prudently waiting to buy anything, but planning exactly what I’d get for our daughter.
The next few days were a blur of talking to the family who brought our daughter to our attention, and talking to an attorney.
Then… problems with the father… and the whole thing flipped.
I swear sometimes that my heart stopped beating then and has never really been able to start again.
Later we heard that she was eventually adopted by a very nice family here in town.
1 a.m. and all is not well.
Tonight I’ll take the coward’s way out and deal with cold symptoms. Nyquil will make me sleep no matter what. Better living thru chemistry. If I get a good night’s sleep, then I will have a better chance to make it through tomorrow intact.
I sometimes look at little girls in my community and wonder if that one might be her.
I wonder who has my little girl, the child of my heart … and I miss her.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


I love entertaining! Friends coming over for a meal or dessert or a wine tasting. Everything about entertaining, I love.

The housecleaning, yep, even that.
The planning of a meal or an event.
Setting a pretty table so my guests feel special.
Choosing a wine, oh... so many choices!
The anticipation of good food, great conversation and laughter shared with friends.

I love it all.

And I have a secret...

... I am the QUEEN of making meals that taste and appear like I slaved for days, but are so simple they can be done in 15 - 20 minutes.

I love that part best of all!

Setting up a simple, yet elegant and tasty meal for friends to enjoy makes them feel special... and in setting it up this way I can enjoy my time with them. No stress. No tension. No one feels like they have to do anything except relax and have fun... especially me!

Friends are coming from Portland as I type...

The house is clean.
The table is set.
The menu is planned.
Appetizers are ready.
Dinner is set to cook in 15 minutes worth of time.
The wine is chilled.

... and I am anticipating a wonderful evening!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

An interesting Saturday

I’ve debated all day whether to write about the sounds of my neighborhood or my client with cancer. On the one hand, (or topic) it’s semi-frivolous, which is good for Saturdays. On the other hand… dealing with cancer is a far more important topic. So I mix them both tonight.

The day has been filled with normal Saturday things. Cleaning the house, running errands, finding some fun, time to sit on my deck and let the sunshine feed my soul… and grocery shopping… ah yes, grocery shopping.

I live in a fairly small community. Most folks know if something major is going on in someone’s life. And if something major is going on, everyone pitches in to help or celebrate. In whatever form that may take. Bring ‘em a meal if they have had surgery or a baby. Sit with ‘em if they just lost a family member. Rejoice with ‘em if they just got a job or a promotion.

Set up a fundraiser to help with the huge expenses of chemo and radiation when they are self-employed and haven’t the insurance to cover the costs.

I’ve known for weeks now that a client has cancer and is not doing well. It is well known that she probably won’t make it. But…

There is a surprise fund-raiser set up to help her with financial issues. It’s scheduled for next week. People in the community are donating things for live and silent auction items… and there is a big lunch set up to do this auction, with all the proceeds from the lunch going to the lady with cancer. The restaurant is only keeping the exact costs of the food… and donating their wait staff time.

Several folks from my office have donated items. I’ve given a set of picnic-ware to be auctioned off.

But today I went grocery shopping…

… and there she was. A woman on a store scooter, wearing a pink scarf tied around her head to hide the loss of her hair. Hard to recognize, but it certainly was my client with cancer.

She didn’t see me and I could have breezed on by. Since she didn’t see me, she never would have known that I saw her. Pulling Kleenex from the shelf and putting it in her cart. Riding the store scooter because she doesn’t have the strength anymore to walk to do her shopping.

I had to go back and talk to her. It was good. She was so glad I stopped. We talked about how hard chemo is (I saw tears in her eyes) and if I could help with casseroles for her freezer. I think I will never forget how her face lit up when I told her that I’d recognized her for her face in spite of the loss of hair.

I will also never forget the hug she gave me.

I came home, hugged my sweet husband and went outside to sit in the sunshine and let it feed my soul. Listening to the sounds of children playing hide-and-seek in my neighborhood. The buzzing of bees as they check me out and inspect my glass of wine. Hearing mariachi music from down the street and my next-door neighbor pressure washing his house in order to paint it.

Reflecting on how good my life is, no matter how stressful my individual days may be.

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Friday Song

When I still lived in San Diego, there was a great radio station that had a contest every Friday.

IF you knew all the words to The Friday Song and IF you could be the right caller, you would win a prize.

I always tried, since I knew the song, but I was never the right caller.

I still sing The Friday Song because it’s such a cute little tune and because it just cheers everyone up.

♫ Friday, Friday, Friday is my favorite day ♪
♪ Friday, Friday, Friday is my favorite day ♫
♫ Monday is a bummer…♪
♪ Tuesday’s only fair…♫
♫ Wednesday’s gettin’ better…♪
♪ Thursday’s almost there, but…♫
♫ Friday, Friday, Friday is my favorite, ♪
♫Friday is my favorite, ♫
♫ Friday is my favorite day ♪

My co-workers wait for me to walk by on Friday mornings…

♫ Friday, Friday, Friday is my favorite day ♪

“OH! I was waiting for you to come and sing to me!”

I have friends all across the country who have made me call their cell phones and leave them voicemails with The Friday Song… so they can save the message to play every Friday.

It’s become quite a fun phenomenon for me. Who gets to hear The Friday Song … live… this week?

Gotta love a silly little ditty that brightens up everyone’s day.

Thursday, August 18, 2005



... may there be mercy on my day...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Time for Me

I do things for everyone, it seems, and there isn’t much time that is dedicated just for the sole purpose of fun for me. Sounds selfish to want time for fun for ME. But I don’t get much of that kind of time. During the workweek, my schedule consists of:

…get up and exercise, but that’s so NOT fun. I actually consider exercise to be 2 four-letter words shoved together and shouted to make me miserable. I don’t enjoy it and when I’m done, the only thing good that has happened is that it’s over!

… go to work. Well, that’s certainly not dedicated to fun. I like my job and what I do ... I like getting a paycheck… and I like most of my co-workers, but it’s not dedicated to fun for me.

… errands on lunch hours… enough said there!

… come home and cook dinner, only to clean up afterward… again, not fun except during the weekends when we can have friends over and I just putter in the kitchen.

... helping my blessed father-in-law with things in his home…

… visiting my sweet mother-in-law who lives in a nursing home because she has Alzheimer’s. She doesn’t know who I am, but is always nice to me.

… straighten up the house and then collapse for just a few minutes of conversation with my husband before we head to bed… only to start it all over again in the morning.

Not much time for fun for me in the workweek, eh? I also squeeze in time for any friends who are having a hard time with life, needing to talk or needing physical help.

Weekends are spent trying to get projects done around the house, church on Sunday and trying to fit in time with our cameras if the light is right. If at all possible, I love to sew, but lately it hasn’t been possible.

Where is the time for fun for me?

Scheduling time with girlfriends is hard since they all have kids and we don’t. They all think I live this great free-wheeling lifestyle with no stress since we don’t have kids. While there are plusses to our life, not having children certainly wasn’t what we wanted… and our stress levels are quite high with health issues for us and for our aging parents… not to mention the myriad etcetera in the stress factors.

So… where is the time for fun for me?

It takes a lot of planning for me to be able to have dedicated time for “me” fun. Planning and flexibility with other people’s schedules. Sometimes it just feels like too much work to get any fun out of the deal! But… in spite of it all…

… right now I’m planning some fun for me… and a complete 10 days of it. It will take all of the remainder of my vacation time for the year, but will be so worth it.

The planning alone is giving me some fun.

The anticipation is lovely.

I can hardly wait for the time to arrive.

… some time for me….

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A bottle of wine and a great laugh

I hate stopping at the grocery store on the way home from work. I always have and at age 45, I don’t think that is going to change.

I don’t mind doing a full-blown grocery shop, but I hate to have to stop at the grocery store on the way home from work. Usually my sweet husband will do it for me. Since he doesn’t cook and I am a great cook, it’s only fair that he run cooking errands for me.

Unfortunately right now he’s working overtime, so I have to make my own stops on the way home. Ugh!

Leave work, list in hand, drive to store, go in and get all the things on the list. Good, that’s done! Now I can reward myself… a little lingering in the wine department!

I love to try different wines. I love browsing in the wine department. I adore little wine shops and going to wineries. (The picture is of the Sommelier at Mission Hill Winery in British Columbia, a fabulous place to visit!) For me, it’s even more fun to buy wine and see it in my wine rack, bottles full of the promise of something wonderful.

The promise of sunshine feeding my soul with a chilled glass of wine and a good book, sitting on my deck.

The promise of laughter and wonderful conversations with friends in my living room.

The promise of romance and passion when my husband and I have a great meal followed by a dessert wine and superb dark chocolate.

So I lingered in the wine department after I’d dutifully filled my basket with the things on my list. Looking to see what promises lurked there this time. After a lovely chat with the Manager, I picked a bottle and headed toward checkout.

I’m sure the look on my face was priceless when the cashier asked, “May I see your ID?”

“You’re CARDING me? Honey, I’m 45 years old and you’re carding me?” I started laughing in my disbelief.

Apparently she was serious because there I was, 45 years old, proudly showing the very well earned grey in my hair and small wrinkles around my eyes… giving this young lady my ID to prove I was old enough to buy that bottle of wine!

When she told me that my glasses made me look very young, I told her she was my new best friend. Guess I need to call my old best friend and tell her she has been replaced, eh?

My husband and I have had a great chuckle over this… and decided that bottle of wine definitely holds the promise of laughter.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Sunshine feeds my soul

An interesting day. Chaos at work with 4 key people in my department on vacation... which led to me having a need to be in the sunshine.

Something about sunshine feeds my soul.

I grew up in San Diego, on the beaches and in the sunshine. While I DO miss my family and DO NOT miss the big city, I miss parts of that sunshine and beach lifestyle. I love living in small town America in the Northwest, but it only has short periods of absolutely perfect days wherein I feel like my soul has been fed with that sunshine-y feeling.

Today was a sunshine-y, perfect, feed my soul kind of day... and I glory in it!

Work really was chaos. Four very key people in my department of only 13 were out of the office on vacation. It is also our busy season, and the phones ring constantly... and clients flock into the office like seagulls after a snack.

My soul cried out for time in the sun...

Usually, this time of year, I take a campchair and sit in the sunshine with my lunch out in back of the office. Clients chat with me after they park and are walking into the building.

"You sure know how to take a lunch break!"
"Yeah, I do, don't I?!"

We all smile and go about our business. They go into my office and purchase their new home... or refinance their existing home. I sit and read my book in the glory of the day.

Co-workers tell me they need to remember to bring their campchairs so they can join me... but they never do. I sit alone in the sunshine...with my book... soaking up the joy in the glory of the day...

Today I did not get to glory in the day at lunchtime. Errands and work interrupted the thought of feeding my soul. But...

... my blessed, sweet husband called to tell me he had to work overtime...

I race home.
I throw on my bathing suit.
Grab the lawn chaise...

And on my deck with a glass of wine I go... in the sunshine... with my book...


Time to feed my soul with some evening sun. Bliss. Absolute bliss.

In the privacy of my backyard deck, I listen to the sounds of my neighborhood. The neighbors behind me are teaching their grandson to play baseball. He is about 5 and they are praticing... "you are doing great, but I know you can do better." I hear them encouraging the boy. "Hold the glove, and chase the ball, don't wait for it to drop into the glove, chase it!" And the best of all... "you can do it!" As they move to batting practice, I hear him call, "look at me, Mommy, look at me!"

We glory in the sunshine together and apart... separate and enjoying the same thing...

... each enjoying, each feeding our souls.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Mercy on my day

I really have nothing to say today... just a prayer for mercy on my day. Since it's late, actually I'd like mercy on my sleep. Today has been chaotic with getting projects done around the house, a lot of projects, and I'm tired.

Sleep does not come easy for my husband and I. We each have health issues that do not allow for the simplicity of a great night's sleep that used to come so easily when we were younger.

Now, it's a great night when either one of us has gotten 5-6 hours of uninterrupted rest.

And yet, we still have to work a normal day... being productive and acting as if sleep, and rest, were not an issue.

Sometimes I miss the days of 20 years ago. Being able to stay up dancing or, more likely, talking until sometime between midnight and 3 a.m. Still able to be up and ready to take on the world at 6:30 a.m., not to mention being able to work a full day after such a short night's sleep.

Now, health issues have caused me to feel old and tired when I stay up late... and sometimes when I don't. I crave sleep. But sleep avoids me.

So tonight... I pray mercy on my sleep...