Friday, November 18, 2011

procrastination is my middle name

As long as I can remember, I rarely completed any project whether for school (homework), holiday shopping or crafts for gift giving ahead of the time they're due. This same trait was also evident in my children and was a source of constant nagging on my part. Do as I say, not as I do. And I do, do.

The holidays are a mere 5 weeks away and I have yet to finish the 2 Christmas wall hangings that I have started for Christmas gift. They are flimsies right now, but I've turned my attention elsewhere for the time being. Sometimes I think I have a bit of ADD. I should be finishing the wall hangings, but quite frankly, I am not head over heals in love with them right now. I have developed a resentment towards all the satin stitching and want the little menahunes to come in the middle of the night to finish them for me, and while they're here, they can do the dishes, vacuuming and laundry, too.

For some reason or another, I lack the discipline to stay on track when I actually sit down to work on a project. I sew for a an hour or so, get up and watch some tv, do a chore, relax for a while then guilt myself into returning to the project. I can be very hard on myself with the conversations I have with the committee that resides in my head, but still haven't been bothered enough to change. I really thought I would be better about completing things this year based on last year's dash to the finish line at the last minute. Talk about stress! It was pure adrenalin at the end and a lot of late night sewing.

My attention to these wall hangings have been waylaid by the 2 twin size quilts I am making for my kids. I don't have any expectations that they will be getting the finished product by Christmas morning, but I'm giving it my best shot anyway. I will run myself ragged towards the end and still find excuses to procrastinate at every opportunity. Add to my "normal" routine the fact that my beautiful daughter will be home from school for about 10 days over the winter break and I really won't be getting much done, especially her quilt, which I want to be a surprise.

Maybe next year I'll change my middle name to Alacrity (def: cheerful readiness, promptness, or willingness).

Hah! Fat chance.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dear John, the letter

Well after four years, I need to get some things off my chest.........

Dear John,

It's been a little over four years since your death. Life has not been the same since; good and bad. I can't believe the four years have gone by so quickly. To say that life is speeding up the older I get is truly an understatement. I think I have a harder time accepting that my kids are now 26 and 22. I don't feel like I'm old enough to have children as old as I feel.

The good in my life is measured by the strength of my Al-Anon program, my newly acquired spiritual program and the friends I've made in the years since your death. I am so grateful for all the riches life bestows on me and wish you could be around (healthy) to share it with me. I never expected to be in my early 50's single, again. It's not what I wanted when you died but today I am enjoying my aloneness; maybe a bit too much.

I continue to go to my Al-Anon meetings and working with my sponsor (who told me to write this letter). Even though you are no longer a part of my living life, having lived with you and your disease has affected me, permanently. I will never be able to drive down the street and see a fire engine or ambulance again without thinking about you and all the times I had to call 911 to come to the house. I have undergone EMDR for treatment of PTSD. Finding you dead was nothing short of shocking to my system. That episode alone has left a mark on my life that may fade with time, but like so much else, will never completely go away. The EMDR work has helped a lot, but it's still there. Damnit. Why couldn't you just stop drinking? Why didn't you want to stop? Why didn't you want to be with me? Why did you choose alcohol over me? Why???????????

I've started going to church again. Not the Catholic church that I was raised in, but a more kind, spiritual place. I really like going there and hope to get more involved with the church to meet new people and make new attachments. It was suggested that I really have a strong spiritual program before dating again. I have this bad habit of attracting all the wrong kind of man and selling myself down the river for the man du jour. I don't want to repeat my mistakes. God knows there are plenty of opportunities everyday to make new mistakes - I don't need to keep making the same ones over and over and over again.

I bought a house two years ago. All by myself. I live alone now - Kaitie is in Irvine going to school and Hank is living and working in LA. I am so immensely proud of both of them. They have turned out to be the brightest and most joyful things in my life. I just can't wait to have grand babies. I want to see and touch all the innocence that babies bring into this world. I need to feel unconditionally loved and babies have the ability to do that.

My time since your death has been the longest I've not been with a man since I was first married in 1982. The thought of being trusting and intimate with someone scares the crap out of me. I have been so damaged and affected by our relationship that I am petrified to start dating again. I am fearful of being lied to like you did on a regular basis. I am fearful of being open and vulnerable like I was with you and have it used against me. I am fearful of being intimate with someone and have the intimacy abused and twisted up. Our relationship did a doozey on me.

I am really trying to stick with the "I" statements here. It would be so easy to blame you for all the failures and ills of our relationship. However, I, too, am culpable when it comes to some of the wrongs in our marriage even with your drinking playing such a huge role. I suffered from jealousy and insecurities that I carried around like a beaten up suitcase from one relationship to another, ours included. I'd like to think I left that tattered suitcase on the steps of our house as I closed the door for the last time. The truth is I probably still have some remnants of these defects and won't know about them until (If) I ever have another relationship. I was not the person I want to be. I could beat myself up a lot for all the things I did. I'm ashamed of my behavior and actions to and against you. I can't change the past. I am sorry, truly, for the way I treated you on many occasions; for the things I said in anger and resentment. I am sorry that things just didn't work out the way I had dreamed they would.

My need to control people and things didn't help our marriage, either. I had this need to be able to control everything from how the laundry was done to how the pot was stirred on the stove. Pretty damn sick, I was. I think I've made some improvement around this character defect, too. At least where the kids are concerned, I am not that crazed, high strung person they knew growing up.

I know you suffered from a horrible, debilitating disease. I know life on this earth was hard for you. I hope and pray you're in a better place now. I know I am. I am at peace. I am grateful. I am happy. I am me.

Rest in Peace

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dear John

It has been 4 years since my husband died from the affects of chronic alcoholism. Everytime I think I'm making progress, I am reminded that I still have a lot of work to do around how my life has changed for having been exposed to his disease.

My "A" (the other anonymous program) sponsor told me that I HAVE to write a letter to my husband telling him the things that have happened in the past 4 years. She doesn't normally require her sponsees to do a "must" thing, but she's making an exception for me. Really?

This letter will be a work in progress, posted here. My sponsor thinks there will be many chapters to my letter and I think she's right.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Wip it, wip it good. No, I can spell - it's wip for work in process. I have many such projects in my craft closet. Some are closer to completion than others and if the road to hell was paved with good intentions or wips - I'm a shoe-in.

This quilt is for my sister. It is now in the almost ready to be basted and quilted stage. Then I have a bajillion more to make for her....she's my best non-paying customer - as are all my quilt recipients. After cutting the sewn together 5" squares and cutting them into pinwheels, I was left with 2" squares of all the fabrics in the big quilt. I assembled the tiny 2" squares into a mini wallhanging version of the before quilt. I used a fusible grided interfacing and ironed those little suckers to it and took the easy way out of assembling this pretty little thing. That gridded interfacing was a god-send. And fast, too.

I know my sister will love these beauties, whenever she gets them, even if it's not until next year!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

attitude of gratitude

Tomorrow. Today I have another gripe. This seems to be a common theme in my life right now and I need to do some serious work around why things are bothering me so much lately.

I am in the process of making some Christmas wallhangings, one that needs (needed) to be done by this weekend. I don't think that's going to happen, but that's another story in itself. My gripe is the pattern I'm using and the fabric requirements per the instructions. I am making a snowman from one of Patrick Lose's books. It's a cute pattern and fits into the theme of "chillax" for the event it is for. I plan on making a total of 4 of these wallhangings and planned my purchase of fabric accordingly. I used the book's directions for fabric requirements and purchased 4 times the amount listed. Mistake. Big mistake. I have enough orange fabric to make 50 quilts. Granted, something should have clicked in my brain that says something like "how could you possibly need 1/4 yard of fabric for a carrot shaped nose?" But, the directions stated 1/4 yard and I'm a good follower and purchased 1 yard. I think I used a sum total of 4 inches by the width of the fabric for the 4 quilts. That means that I have 32" of leftover orange fabric. This same situation has carried over into all the fabrics the quilt calls for. Too much leftover fabric. I could've purchased fabric I would love to use in another quilt and not all this leftover stuff.

Note to pattern designers. Please, please, please be realistic when it comes to how much fabric is required to make a quilt that you designed. The orange carrot needed at most a fat quarter. And I could've made 4 carrtos from that fat quarter.

Nuff said.

Friday, October 7, 2011

look into my father's eyes

To say that I didn't have a good relationship with my father would (in my opinion) be an understatement. For as long as I can remember, I had a disconnected feeling about him. I could recall stories where I felt so detached from him as a father that I don't think it was all in my head. As early as 8 years old I knew there was "something" about him that didn't sit right with me. When I was in my early teens I made a vow that I wouldn't kiss any boys until I was able to kiss my father goodnight as I saw my sister do (without reciprocity). That lasted about a week. It felt weird, unnatural to force myself to do something that felt so not right.

My father held Bachelor degrees in Psychology and Social Work. My father couldn't display any love or affection to his children. My father died when I was 19 years old. I never got to ask the questions; never got to hear the answers.

My father was the photographer in my family and because of that, there aren't many pictures of him and somehow, I've managed to have all (or most of them). There are some deep psychological reasons for this, I suppose. One very good picture of my father, a closeup, had been damaged by water or something that left spots all over the picture. My sister had requested a copy of this picture, but I needed to photoshop the damage.

While fixing the picture I had to zoom in pretty tight to fix all the little pixels. Some of the damage was around my father's eyes. Something happened. I finally felt some softness about my father. I saw kindness in his eyes that I never saw while growing up. I fixed them. I am fixing me. My father in some way was a damaged man who never healed. I am a damaged child trying to heal.


No Shit. Friday couldn't come sooner or fast enough.

I like my job. I really do. I don't like some of the people I work with, though. For the past few years the attitude of some of my co-workers has deteriorated beyond any hope of changing for the better. It has become so "normal" to be negative that they can't or won't see the problem. I can't stand it any more. I would just love to scream "get the hell out of here if you can't come to work with a better work ethic". The other piece of this headache of a puzzle is that my boss has pretty much wiped his hands of the success/failure of the business. He's all into himself and probably deserves to experience the outcome of his indifference. I care. I care a lot. I probably care too much.

This past spring was especially bad with the co-workers and my boss was ready to terminate at least one person immediately. But being the sometime co-dependent that I am, I suggested that he wait until the winter time and have a real heart-to-heart talk with the person and offer to give some paid time off to reconsider the work ethic and see if he/she could come back with a better attitude. I am eating my words. Choking on them, actually.

Near the end of the day yesterday, a customer called wanting to place an order for Friday delivery. First time customer. First impression customer. FAIL!!!!!!!!!! I couldn't believe what I was hearing from this one here (huh?), cut-off time is 3pm (huh? it's not like customers are beating down the door this time of the year), blah, blah, blah. I was mortified. I was pissed. I wanted to scream. And yet the continuing co in me says not to say anything to the boss (he's not around anyway) because I'm not ready for change or confrontation. Sick, huh?

TGIF - I can't wait to see what happens today.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

steve jobs r.i.p. - words to live by

Steve Jobs passed away yesterday from pancreatic cancer. All the money in the world (and he had a fair share of it) could not save him from an untimely death. He gave a commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005 and while it is on the www, I copied it from

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much

Rest in Peace, Steve Jobs. Your vision will be sorely missed

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

my other family

If you have a job, you probably spend more awake time with your co-workers than you do with your own "home" family. I know I do. I spend over 8 hours a day with my "work" family - a diverse group of about 26 people. We all have different backgrounds, family values, economic status, and most importantly, personalities.

I usually tell people at my "A" meeting (no not that group), that I don't live with active alcoholism anymore. And that's true - at my home. Work is a different story. Certain circumstances have come up recently where my boss is around the office more than usual - and this follows a 5 week vacation that he recently took. I now work with active something. I can't say for sure it's drinking or drugs of some kind. But, it's there. There's been a shift to indifference about the outcome of the business, turning over and assigning more responsibility to his son, who in my opinion, is not ready for any of the responsibility due to lack of experience and immaturity.

I really need to practice my program of "one day at a time" and turn it over to my higher power, hoping and praying that I can detach from this new form of insanity (hopefully temporary) and live my own life and not worry about theirs.

Monday, October 3, 2011

rainy days and mondays........

I live in northern California where it's pretty much accepted that we don't get any measurable rain from about June until November/December. Well, not this year. This seems to be the year of Mother Nature's revenge. Tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, fires, droughts, earthquakes.

We are supposed to get measurable rain today and even more on Wednesday. That means, for me and many others, it's time to clean out the gutters. Not an entirely desirable job. It's gross, rotting vegetation that's been living about 12 feet off the ground. Enter reason #2 for not cleaning out the gutters - they're off the ground. A lot. I have a fear of heights that keep me from replacing the batteries in my smoke detectors, finishing the painting of my kitchen ceiling and trimming my beautiful, PITA tree (mimosa). Time to conquer my fears or risk having a bigger mess and problem down the road. And I'll have to do it again when said PITA tree drops its leaves, pods and silk flowers. UGH!

On a positive note, I won't have to water my plants for at least a week and we're supposed to go back into the 80's by the weekend. Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

neighbor friendly

I've been robbed! I was robbed of what could have been a good night's sleep due to my backyard neighbor's over zealous nighttime partying.

I soooo look forward to a good night's sleep that are few and far between. I sooo look forward to my sleep time on the weekend. I need sleep, I want sleep, I want peaceful sleep. It was not to be. When do I get to make up this lost night's sleep?

The partying behind my house continued past 1am. I was praying some other neighbor would be more pissed off than me and call the police to stop the raucous behavior. I was praying they would just shut the hell up. Uh, uh. Nope. Then their damn dog started his incessant yapping. I've yelled "shut up that damn dog" more than once in the past. I finally bought a dog barking stopper thingy... it might be working...when I have it on.

I'm sitting here thinking of a way to annoy my neighbors and try to interrupt their sleep like they did mine.

Note to self: get their address and put the police phone number on speed dial for the next offensive night.

I want a do-over.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

random acts of kindness

Have you ever done something spontaneously just because?

I was in Whole Foods today using my newly acquired little produce bags (you gotta go green at WF you know!). A customer commented on my cute little bags and when I passed her in the store again, I gave her one. Just to put a smile on her face.

Just because I can and I love to do it.

Pay it forward people!

Monday, September 19, 2011

real or reality?

Reality TV. Really?

Personally, I don't know any housewife that dresses up like they're going strolling down the Avenue or engage in cat fights like a bunch of middle school teenagers.

I don't know any teenagers who deliberately get pregnant so that they can become reality tv stars. Nor do I know women who put the value of a dress over the quality of the man they're about to marry and at the expense of all else.

I don't know any women who parade around their kids in the very public eye so that they can give the kids the life they deserve (huh?). I don't know any women who would consider being one of many wives to one man ( how come it's not many husbands to one wife?).

I don't know of any women who parade around their toddlers in inappropriate costumes and encourage spoiled rotten entitled behavior. And I certainly don't know 3 sisters who "work" at doing not much of anything.

So, I have to ask myself, is this reality or some idiot cloning of really bad tv? What discourages me the most is that there are probably a lot of people out there in tv land who think these shows are really real. While these shows, in my opinion, might have some entertainment value from a voyeuristic point of view, watching them is not how I choose to spend my very limited tv viewing time.

What does it say about us as a country when reality tv is so distorted from the real world, but we lap it up like starving kittens. Not to mention that it's mostly women in these shows doing and saying things I wouldn't do even in the privacy of my own home.

Reality tv?


an attitude of gratitude

I don't even know where to go with this. I work for a small, family owned company. The present owner is a 3rd generation family member who hopes one day to pass it on to his son. I love my job. I really do. What I can't stand, however, is the lack of gratitude my boss and his wife have towards my boss' surviving mother. My boss' father passed away several years ago and it was his hard work and efforts that built this business to be what it is today.

I am appalled by the lack of thankfulness for the things these people have. If I had one iota of their tangible goodies, I would not want for anything for quite some time. Yet, they begrudge this little old lady the generosity she so richly deserves. I don't get it, I really don't.

I don't have much in the way of personal property by some people's standards. But what I do have is gratitude for those things I do have and an overwhelming need to give back. Life could be so much worse for all of us, my boss and his family included. They just don't know it or see it.

So today, adopt an attitude of gratitude and do something nice for someone else.

Quote of the day:

If I treated you

the way you treat me,

You’d hate me.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Think - something we should all do before saying anything:

Is what you have to say:
  • true
  • helpful
  • intelligent
  • necessary
  • kind
So many times I enter into conversations that take a decidedly wrong turn. Even as I'm telling myself not to say anything, I blurt out a thought or comment that certainly does not fall into any of the above categories. No doubt, we are creatures of habit and as such are apt to continue a pattern of behavior with family, friends and co-workers that does not serve our or their best interests. Inappropriate conversations is one of these behaviors.

I was fortunate this past August to attend a family reunion in Maine (sigh!). There were 3 generations and 17 people living under one roof for a week. To say that there were different personalities present would be a understatement. I am so used to living by myself that being around so many people at one time was quite overwhelming. However, by being mindful of my own personal needs to be alone (that didn't really happen much) or disengaging from conversations that were not pertinent to me (a lot), I was able to maintain some sense of balance.

THINK is a great tool to use when you don't know what to say, especially when topics of conversation veer off into territory you are unsure of or that tests your mettle. I need to practice THINK more often. It certainly is a way to have healthy boundries with family members who can get under your skin.

Friday, September 16, 2011


I had the unfortunate pleasure of attending a dear friend's mother's funeral a few weeks ago.  I say unfortunate pleasure for the simple reason that no one wants to go to a funeral, but what a testimony the service was to this woman's life.

As I was sitting in the church listening to all the nice, positive things that were being said about this person, I couldn't help but wonder what my eulogy would sound like if I were to die today.  Would good memories prevail?  Would nice things be said about me?  Would I be remembered fondly and warmly?  Would a lot of people attend?  I surely hope so.

My mind further extrapolated this scenario to my present day life.  I want to live my life like my eulogy and epitaph would read.   She was kind.  She was generous.  She was a loving mother, daughter, sister.  She gave back.  She hugged.  She said "I love you".  She will be sorely missed.

Everyday we all have the opportunity to live our lives better, kinder, more tolerant.  When our eyes open each morning (god willing), we can live the most positive day we can conjure up or we can live in negativity, misery and hatred.  I am far from a perfect person;  I gave up trying a long time ago.  But I strive to be a better person than I was yesterday.  Today I choose to be happy and smile as much as I possibly can.  I tell my children I love them everytime I talk to them and honestly mean it.  I hug from my heart and soul.

I want to be remembered, not forgotten.  And I want those memories to be good and full of all the love I had to give.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

quilt progress

I have to say that the tediousness of re-cutting my sister's quilt into a twister pattern is going a lot faster than I thought it would go. I have 2/3 of the quilt cut and re-sewn and it's looking pretty good if I do say so myself. I still have to think about making it bigger by adding a wide border. Unfortunately, the larger the quilt, the harder it will be to quilt it. I'll cross that bridge when I get there. Until then, I will continue to plug away and start giving serious consideration to what quilt I'm going to make for my Christmas project.

I scored some free fabric at a garage sale and have decided to donate the red/white and blue/white fabric to a Quilts of Valor project that will be taking place this winter. The coordinator, Marjorie, will be getting 12 yards of nice fabric in the mail real soon. I love giving things away.

Quote: Gratitude turns what we have into enough. Amen.

Monday, September 12, 2011

monday, monday

There was some statistic on GMA today about how many minutes are spent by a certain number of workers complaining about Monday and having to go back to work. Generally speaking, I am not one of those people.

If I was in my regular routine (which I am trying to get back into), I would have Mondays off from going to the gym. I like that because then I don't have to be out of the house by 5:15am. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the days I nearly dread. Exercise, for me, is a double-edge sword. I know that I need to exercise to stay in shape and ward off the middle-age spread of a post-menopausal body. That said, I wish I could waive a magic wand and make all the benefits of exercise automatic and permanent. Wishful thinking!

Everyone knows the effects of exercise and weight bearing exercise. I've been consistently exercising for 14 years and I am proud of the shape my body is in. I've managed to (almost) maintain my weight for the past 14 years, within about 5 pounds. I've been menopausal for 4 years and at 52, the laws of gravity are conspiring against me. Menopausal women lose muscle mass at a rate that will motivate me to get to the gym in ways nothing else can. Women will lose 5 to 7 pounds of muscle every 10 years. That's enough reason for me to get out of bed at dark-thirty and get my body in motion.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

we will never forget

Ten years ago life as we knew it would change forever. Our children will never know a trip on an airplane without taking off so many articles of clothing. Our children will never know freedom from fear of being attacked and terrorist warnings.

New York was my home state for almost half my life and it's sad to say that I never visited the WTC. It was always there and why would I think any differently? Reminder to self: nothing is forever.

Tens of thousands of service men and women have sacrificed their lives for our safety and freedom. Whether you think the war in the Middle East is right or wrong, the fact is that our men and women are there working hard every day and risking their lives for their country. God bless them.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

garage sale goodies

Boy, I can't believe the SCORE I had at a garage sale today. Someone in a neighboring town was having a crafts sale with all new merchandise including a slew of quilting, crocheting, knitting and other needle arts books. Each book was $3 and they had tons of other sewing and craft related items. I picked up 4 books and templates and do-dads for all of $20. The biggest score was a Supreme Slider for 25 cents. Those things are expensive in the retail stores and I might just have to give it away as I am already using a diy version of it and it's working out pretty well for me. I'll have to think on that for a while.

Friday, September 9, 2011

ack! christmas is only 105 days away

For the past two years I have made Christmas wall hangings for the Holiday Bash the "anonymous" program I belong to puts on. It gets auctioned off along with other types of gift baskets and is a great way for the program to raise money. I can't just make one, however. I make several to give away to friends and family. I really thought that after the mad dash to the finish last year that I would be more on top of it for this year's Bash. HA! I just found out that I need to have it done by November 2nd. Oh boy, I'm in trouble. I haven't even decided what I am going to make yet. On a positive note, I scooped up a bunch of holiday fabric last year after the holidays at a deep discounted price.

I think I better get a move on it. Once again, too many irons in the fire!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

my sister's quilt aka "the tula pink obsession"

This is my current quilt project in the making. That's not to say that I don't have several others in the works. I do. At least one too many, but this quilt is the attention of my quilting focus. It's for my sister, like so many others before and those in line after. I have yet to make a quilt for myself. It seems that the decision making process (pattern, fabric, size) is far easier to accomplish when the quilt is for someone else.

This quilt started out as a charm pack of Tula Pink's Full Moon Forest three years ago when I was attending a family reunion in Maine. It has taken me all of the three years to decide what I was going to make with the fabric and acquiring various other Tula Pink charm packs. Unbeknown to me (duh), fabric lines go out of production and can no longer be purchased through conventional quilt shops. Thank god for Etsy and ebay. If it weren't for these addictive sites, I would not be making this quilt; I'd probably be selling the charm pack of TP's FMF at a lucrative profit. However, I love my sissie and I love making her things. I WILL love making this quilt once it's done. For now, it stares at me every time I pass by the sewing room (aka my son's bedroom) and begs me to spend just 15 minutes a day working on it. I have successfully ignored these pleas for the past 3 days. Maybe tonight I'll get a burning desire to sit and sew. Or not.

I just want to say that there is something perverse about sewing a whole quilt top together only to cut it all apart again. My sister loved the top pre-cut and wasn't thrilled with the notion that I was going to cut it all up to make a twister quilt pattern. Maybe good was good enough? I thought it looked boring as plain squares and always intended it to be a twister quilt. I think it's coming out okay and I hope my sister thinks so, too.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

best friends

Best Friend Quotes: Who's Your Best Friend?

Best Friend Quotes: Who's Your Best Friend? (clipped to

Random thoughts

It's Wednesday and it feels like Tuesday, but I wish it was Friday. Confused? I love three day weekends but they really mess me up when it comes to figuring out what day it is. It is Wednesday though, and that means 2 more days until I can do things around my house that I want to work on. Namely, a quilt I'm working on for my sister.

Three years ago I went to Maine for a family reunion and went shopping with my sister to a quilt shop in Windham. My sister fell in love with a charm pack of fabric by Tula Pink called Full Moon Forest. I didn't look at that fabric again for over a year. By the time I decided I wanted to make something with that charm pack, the fabric line was out of production and not be found anywhere - believe me, I tried. I even contacted Tula Pink herself to see if she had any connections that could hook me up with more charm packs. I then had a brilliant idea that I would make a quilt out of several of Tula's fabric lines: Plume, Hushabye, Flutterby and Prince Charming. That idean turned out to be more difficult than I thought at the time. Apparently, my timing is way, way off. I scoured ebay, etsy and online quilt shops on a regular basis (like over a year) until I was able to acquire all the charm squares and yardage I needed to make the quilt.

I decided I wanted to make a twister quilt with her initial "N" embedded in the fabric layout. I shuffled fabric squares until I thought my OCDness would drive me crazy trying to get the layout perfect. The thing with sewing together 5 1/2" squares and then cutting them up and sewing them together again is the potential of creating a real resentment over handling the same fabric over and over again. I'm almost there. With the resentment, not finishing the quilt top.

My sister fell in love with the preliminary quilt top (pre re-cutting the twister blocks) and loved the size (very large). She wasn't real thrilled with the idea that I was going to cut into the fabric and potentially ruin what she thought was a pretty quilt. To me it was boring just having large squares sewn together, so I convinced her it needed to be done. I should have kept my opinions to myself. I've cut and sewn 9 rows together with another 18 to go. Yipee!!!!!!!!

What I've discovered now that after some rows are sewn together is that it is going to finish smaller than I thought. I knew that I was going to lose inches in the re-cutting process, but until I could actually see it, it's hard to imagine how much smaller it's turning out. I now feel like I need to add a 4" border to increase it's size. More fun and money!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

2 years later and then some

I love reading blogs, especially those about quilting and sewing. I am also a newly addicted "pinterest-er". I can get lost for hours and hours looking at my blogs (through google reader) and my pinterest account. I also find that I have a lot to say, mostly to myself. And while this blog started out as a way to chronicle my life (kind of ala PW), I want to take it in a different direction. I don't know exactly where it's going to wind up. Hell, in the end, this might just be an exercise in improving my typing skills - something that really needs improvement. Anyway, this blog might contain sewing/quilting information about my progress (or lack of) on my current project(s), a rant or two or plain old monkey-mind rambling thoughts.

When I first started posting, my husband's death was new and raw. I had a lot of anger, frustration and trauma surrounding his dying and I thought blogging would be a good way to chronicle what was going on in my life and how I got to where I was - I was reliving my past, mistakes and all, via blogging. I am leaving my old posts up for now, but I may decide to delete them in the future...

Not too long ago, my son said something to me that jarred me out of my pity-pot stupor. He basically said that we have a choice in either letting our past become or define our lives (stuck) or just accepting that there were incidents or things that happened and move on. I realized that I was becoming the woman who's husband died of alcoholism and I am much more than that. And that's that.