Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Christopher 'Ham'

This is what happens when you point the camera at a "seasoned" model. Me with the camera, Christopher at his kitchen table in Portland last week. Oooooh it was a fun week with him.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

She keeps on giving. . .

Yesterday I was thinking about a special girl. My friend Tammy asked me to help her out by embroidering a quilt block she wanted to make but just couldn't get done. I agreed before I knew how healing it would be.

Tammy's 16 year old daughter, Lindsay, died last October in a car accident. Lindsay was one of those "loved by all" angels. Her infectious smile and happy disposition and giving heart touched countless people in her short life. 1200 people attended her funeral.

When Tammy brought me the quilt block she explained that Lindsay had been an organ donor and was able to give her heart valves and corneas. Someone can now see because of her. The quilt block was her part in a memorial quilt to honor donors. As I stitched yesterday I thought of Lindsay and how she is still giving. I thought of Tammy and the ache in her heart. I thought about giving.

Thanks Tammy for letting me give . . . just a few stitches.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Love Affair . . . or a Running History

This morning I sneaked out the door before Christopher (or anyone else) was awake and went for a long walk. My running shoes are in Utah and I am in Oregon. As I was heading back I started to reminisce. (Once you hit the half century mark you start doing more of this.)

I thought about the first time I went "running." We were living in Walnut Creek, California and Brian (my third baby) was 4 1/2 months old. I was 25 pounds overweight and my baby was more interested in grabbing a pork chop off my dinner plate than in bonding time with me. I was ready to wean the little piker! I had driven around our block a few times and measured it at 1 mile. I thought I could make it around that even if I had to walk part of the way. But how was I going to get out of the house to test my theory?

Then the stars aligned and the moment of truth arrived. Was I serious or not? I watched a friend's little girl while she went for a well-baby check with her newborn. When she came back I decided to call in the favor on the spot and take the plunge. I said, "Could you just stay here with my kids for a few minutes? I have something I want to do." She was willing so I ran to the bedroom and found my Keds (?!). I knew nothing about running shoes.

With excited, nervous energy I started out around the block. I ran as far as I could then walked a few yards and ran again. The whole thing was over and I was back within 15 minutes. But it was a start! Within a month I was getting up in the dark and running three quarters of the way around the block and turning around and running back so that I ran a mile and a half. By the time I got to two miles I had very sore heels and Achilles tendons. I mean Keds! Puh-leeeeze! The thought makes me shudder now.

Barry suggested that I should look for some running shoes if I was really serious about this thing. It wasn't easy but I found a pair of Nikes for women. Women who were running were wearing men's shoes but they were too wide for my 10AA feet.

By this time I also had a partner. I had asked around among the women at church to see if anyone was interested in running. I mostly got vacant looks. But one new move-in named Susan said she had done some running but wasn't currently. I think I badgered her for three weeks until she finally agreed to go with me. We became fast friends. (Not fast runners yet!)

That was February 1979! 30 years later, I still love running. It has been a great love affair.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Enough . . .

This has been circulating around the internet but I thought it had some merit and I wanted to share it. Nice thoughts for the Sabbath. . .

Recently I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said, 'I love you and I wish you enough'.

The daughter replied, 'Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom'.
They kissed and the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking, 'Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?'.

Yes, I have,' I replied. 'Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?'.

'I am old and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is - the next trip back will be for my funeral,' she said.

'When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, 'I wish you enough'. May I ask what that means?'.

She began to smile. 'That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone'. She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and she smiled even more. 'When we said, 'I wish you enough', we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them'. Then turning toward me, she shared the following as if she were reciting it from memory.

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.

I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

May we all be blessed with enough.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Perennial in a Pot . . .

per⋅en⋅ni⋅al   [puh-ren-ee-uhl]
1. lasting for an indefinitely long time; enduring: her perennial beauty.
2. (of plants) having a life cycle lasting more than two years.
3. lasting or continuing throughout the entire year, as a stream.
4. perpetual; everlasting; continuing; recurrent.
5. a perennial plant: Daffodils and tulips are perennials.
6. something that is continuing or recurrent.

About 4 years ago I got this really brilliant idea to plant mint in a remote corner of my yard. I planted it so that it had some room to spread but it was cornered by cement on two sides. For any garden novices, mint spreads by underground roots, is very aggressive and it is a tough perennial. It is a barracuda plant! It is not deterred by bad soil, cold winters or even sporadic drought . . . natural or the forgetful gardener kind.

All was well for a couple of years and then I realized that my darling mint was trying to creep (invade) into the neighbor's yard by traveling under the hefty cement mow strip along the fence line. I wanted to stay friends in the neighborhood so I undertook killing the mint. It was an amazing project. Let's just say the mint had taken root! I sprayed and ripped and dug! It took another season to conquer the mint.

But I love mint and I want it in the summer. So as I was ripping out what the Roundup didn't kill I threw some in a pot close to the kitchen. It thrived all summer and was close at hand when I wanted lime-honey-ginger-mint on my fresh pineapple.

When frost came I put it next to the house for protection. Now from where I sit at my kitchen table this is what I see.

Even mint does not survive in a pot in the winter. Every time I look at it, I think, "There is a lesson there." I know what my lesson is. You'll have to think about yours. All lessons aside, I'm not letting the 'mint out of the pot' again so I can't wait to find some in the spring for my pot and I cannot wait to go running outside again in the Spring!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I am a 'sew and sew'. . .

I don't even know if that term is used anymore but when I was a little girl my mother would say, "Oh she is such a so and so. . ." I'm guessing it meant that whoever she might be referring to was a real character. Well, I hope I am not that kind of a so and so but I am a real sew and sew. I love to sew and I don't do nearly enough of it to satisfy me. But every few months I get to do something that really feeds my creative cravings.

I hate sewing under pressure and I really don't like doing what I call 'down and dirty' sewing. I like to do the kind of sewing that takes time and gives lots of attention to details and I try to get it as close to perfection as I can. I know that kind of sewing drives most people crazy but for me it just feeds something inside of me. Maybe it is the quest for that long 'four letter' word -- perfection.

Some people have told me that I should start a business or try to sell my dresses. Never! That would totally ruin it! A big part of my sewing is that most often I am doing it for love. And being able to give a gift that makes someone happy is where it's at. This one is for my friend Cami. She was sick just about her whole pregnancy but her darling little Scotlyn was born in January.

Besides hating to sew under pressure I have a reason for sewing things up ahead of time. This dress won't be worn until March but it will hang in my sewing room where I can see it for the whole month of February. It will take me that long to bond with it. Dresses like this take a long time to create -- first in my mind, then on paper and finally on the sewing machine. I need time to look at it and absorb it. Then I can give it away. Kind of like children.