Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A return to the routine...

This has been a difficult post to write. How do you ask your long-term Followers and friends to forgive you for not stopping in or calling or something for weeks, almost months? Oh, I posted a quickie here and there but that's sort of like leaving a voice mail or text that says "Call you later." Not too friendly.

At the Susquehanna Blues Fest in Havre de Grace, MD

I know true friends realize you're in the midst of a rough time and stand at the ready, waiting to hear from you when you're ready. If you're still hanging around and reading this, I guess you're one of those friends. Thank you. Thanks for being YOU and for still being here.

Family gathering at Boordy Vineyard

There are so many words I could use to describe the last few months but to summarize let's just call them bitter sweet and trying (very, very "trying"). We've had family issues, health issues, a death in the immediate family, a major lifestyle change, weather issues (historical heat, a hurricane and even an earthquake!), and so much more. There have also been good times - soothing music, great food and comforting friends and family get-togethers.

And such is life. Let's just say, life got in the way of my postings.

Ocean City, MD - a few days BEFORE Irene came through!

I know I've said it before but I think, this time, I'm back on track. At least, I hope I am. I've missed my blogs, my shop, my on-line friends and most of all, my painting and creating.

I woke up this morning, one of those few days we haven't had outside commitments, obligations or appointments, and I got right down to business on my household chores. I was hurrying so I might have time to get to my blog this afternoon - finally. That was enough to give me a push and I moved at "the speed of light", so to speak.

The Susquehanna River where it meets Chesapeake Bay only hours after the earthquake hit.

Okay, so maybe I exaggerate (just a bit). I am, after all, a heavy woman on the shady side of 50 (To paraphrase Tamar Myers, one of my favorite authors, "so shady, even mushrooms don't grow there.") with bad knees. I don't really have a turbo speed but I was moving at "full speed ahead" to "get'er done."

2011 Summerfest in New Holland, PA - a KCBS sanctioned BBQ competition

In any case, it's not dark out yet and I'm not yet so tired that I can't keep my eyes open but I have accomplished most of my "To Do" list for today and I'm rewarding myself with some time on the internet. It feels soooo good!!!

I've peppered this post with a few photos from our summer. They don't really have anything to do with this post but they're just a sampling of where we've been and what we've done. (Of course, we only photograph the good times.)

One of our little princesses turned one this month. Isn't she beautiful?

The youngest princess in the family! this was the first time I met this one!

Suffice it to say, I'm alive, relatively well and almost functional. To quote Ah-nold, "I will be back," (hopefully, tomorrow - maybe even later this evening.)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

It's been a long week.

It's been a long, tough week and our journey's not yet done.

As I said in my last post, my m-i-l passed away last Saturday after a long and exhausting illness. It is comforting to know she is no longer suffering and is now in a much better place. My personal belief is that her soul is now reunited with her loved ones that went on ahead - her husband of over 50 years and her parents and siblings. She was the last of that generation in her family.

The last photo I took just s few weeks ago,
surrounded by her grandson and great-grandson.

Because we had to schedule family members traveling from across country and the need to bring her ashes East, we have not yet completed the burial. That will happen next weekend and will culminate with a gathering of friends and family to celebrate her life. We will share photos and memories and, hopefully, lots of hugs and smiles. Mom always enjoyed her extended family. I think she'd approve.

The day-to-day antics of her
great-granddaughter brightened her days.

August, 2010

In the meantime, we're sort of in a state of suspended animation. We've cried many tears, reminded each other of better times and, in our space and time, have mourned her loss. We will miss her tremendously. We've done all the phone calls, planning and preparations for events on this end. There's nothing to take care of for another week now.

I know we will once again shed tears and share our grief when the rest of the family gets in later in the week. For now, though, it's time to simply wait. We can't just sit and stare at the walls so we have proceeded with many of our normal activities but have done so with heavy hearts.

Summer, 2009, the three if us at a
Friday night concert at the mall.

Yesterday and today we judged a BBQ contest. It was a commitment we made many months ago so we proceeded as planned. This morning was one of the days I set out feeling very down and wanting simply to call and cancel. We were with people we've known for several years but, for the most part, they are not close enough to our family to have been part of situation. Many were aware Mom had been very ill simply because we had been forced to miss numerous competitions this season to tend to family needs.

We dragged her to a riverfront
blues festival in August, 2010 - she loved it!

Quite a few (both judges and cooks) ran over to say hello and ask about the situation as soon as we arrived. They were genuinely concerned to find she had passed. I was amazed at the many kind, supportive and sincere words these friends shared with us. There were several truly warm and comforting hugs and I'm glad we did do the event. I am once again struck by how wonderful, sweet and compassionate our BBQ family is.

She loved a good laugh!!

It was a gray and rainy day - a bit depressing in and of itself but our BBQ friends managed to make me feel quite a bit better.

Thank you BBQ friends. I needed that!

Monday, August 8, 2011

The problem with plans...

You know what they say about well made plans . . .

We thought we'd looked at all angles and appeared to have a safe little window of time to get away and have some fun. We were 180 miles from home, about 20 miles short of our destination, when we got that dreaded phone call that my m-i-l had passed away early Saturday morning.

We decided to continue on to our friend's home, rest a bit, eat something and then head home to repack the car and begin driving West in the morning. As it turned out, after a few phone calls and discussions, it was determined there would be no service in Nebraska and those family members would come East instead. (The ultimate plan has always been to bury her in Baltimore alongside my f-i-l. They were together in life for over 50 years.) We ate, rested and made many phone calls. (How did we ever survive without cell phones and unlimited long distance?) Finally, we did spend the night before driving the 200 miles home on Sunday morning.

We were comforted to be in the company of some of our closest friends who dumped all plans and allowed us to direct the flow of the time we were there. It was definitely not the weekend we'd planned. We thank them from the bottoms of our hearts for their hugs and support. Upon our arrival at home, we were again enveloped by the love and support of our next door neighbors (again, some of our closest friends).

Although it is hard to deal with her loss, we are comforted to know she is no longer suffering. It's been a very long tough haul. The last few weeks have been extremely hard for all concerned. We are glad we did have the opportunity in that time to be there with her, to squeeze in some last hugs, even a few laughs at times when she was awake and alert, and to just sit and hold hands for a while. We know she was at peace and ready to move on.

Today, we are once again in a holding position while travel plans are completed before all other details can be put together.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Mini- Vacation

We've been so bogged down, what with the extended trip out to see The Big Guy's mom, our new "lifestyle" with him being home 24/7 with me (I'm SURE we'll eventually find a routine) and obligations and commitments, in general, that we really haven't done much "fun" stuff this summer, yet. It dawned on us, summer is now more than half over!!! (It looks like we'll soon be heading West again to be with his mom a bit more, so there goes most of the rest of the season.)

We decided to try to escape for a night or two this weekend. So, we're off to the AmeriServe Flood city Music Festival in Johnstown, PA. We'll be enjoying some great music and festival foods, time with close friends and, hopefully, some cooler and more comfortable mountain air.

The car's loaded, those holding down the home front have their instructions and we're ready to go.

See y'all on Monday. Go out an have a great weekend, too. Summer's too short to waste!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Watching TV when I COULD (should) be painting.

Husbands can be a bad influence. They tend to guide you into temptation. I had this great list of things I need to get done but he persuaded me to sit down and watch some TV. OK, a LOT of TV.

It started with The Today Show. Willard Scott did his usual honoring of centenarians and, for some reason, his description of one lady being The Bingo Queen of the [Rest] Home struck me as hysterical and I got the giggles. You know, those ROTF tremors that, when you think about it, it wasn't THAT funny to start with but you end up laughing at your own loss of control. I just had this vision of a little old gal like Estelle Getty's Golden Girls' character in a fancy ermine (or some such gaudy fur) cape with white gloves (for the Royal wave, of course) and a very heavy ornate crown with bejeweled Bingo cards stuck all over it!


Did anybody else catch Kirstie Alley on Letterman the other night? She looked good in a fantastic plum-colored evening gown. I only wish she'd try something different with her hair so she didn't constantly have to jerk her head to see out from under it. Hair tossing lost it's cuteness somewhere around the age of 17. I mean, she looks good but she's no Farrah! She does get lots of points though for calling Dave out for all the mean fat jokes he told while she was on DWTS last season. He can be quite hurtful and should get chewed out now and then. ( One of those that she quoted was "Kirstie Alley is joining Dancing With The Stars. If you don't already own one, now might be a good time to get a wide-screen TV.")


I've also spent time this week getting to know the Texas Women on CMT, catching up on The Big C and Weeds on Showtime, Four Weddings on TLC and watching some PBS, too. (Does the educational aspects of the latter dispel the shallowness of the others?)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"A right turn you must make..."

Garmin has just announced you can now download the voices of Darth Vader or Yoda as your GPS navigator. I'm sure they'll be popular but I think I, personally, will pass on these.

I think Yoda could be a little confusing at times. I mean picture driving on a very congested highway in heavy rush hour traffic. This is when you need clear concise instructions, like "Turn right - NOW!!!!" not, "A right turn you must make momentarily." I mean I truly respect Yoda's wisdom but there are times when you need basic language.

As for Darth, I have visions of riding alone on a dark highway late at night when, after many miles of just rolling along without any need for direction, you suddenly hear that foreboding heavy breathing begin. Before he can tell you your exit is coming up on the right in 4/10 of a mile, I just bet you'll be stealing a glance over your shoulder to be sure that back seat is empty!

Now, I may consider a celebrity voice when they come out with George Clooney or, maybe Pierce Brosnan, or Brad Pitt, or . . . Well, you get the idea.

I'd feel safe in a dark car alone at night with one of them.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Deep Thoughts and Memories

Today marks the second anniversary of my nephew, Tom's sudden death. He would have turned 44 that year.
As we weren't that far apart in age, we grew up together, more like siblings than aunt and nephew. He was away from us for several years while doing several tours with the Marines but, once back Stateside, we spent most major holidays together as well as a number of birthday celebrations and such.

There's so much to say about him: He was a prankster, a tease, funny, intelligent and a great hugger. He was childless but loved children and greatly adored by his nieces and nephew. hardly a get-together goes by that we don't tell tales about him. The kids love to have me tell them about his childhood adventures. He was always curious and extremely active and could climb or shimmy up any kind of structure, which made for some interesting situations along the way.

Hardly a day goes by that I don't think of him, still. He is greatly missed.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

At the Track...

I love to watch the races. No betting on my part, just watching. In fact I tend to have an uncanny ability to pick those entries who will come in last and maybe next to last.

What ? You don't have Goose Races where you are ?

Seriously, it's really hard to pick a winner. They ARE flock animals. If one wanders off in the wrong direction, they ALL follow. (The Finish Line in these pics is to the right!)

Actually, this is a beautiful track for thoroughbred horses - Delaware Park, in Wilmington, DE. The middle shot above shows the beautiful pond in the center of the track where many, many ducks and geese thrive. The track area is surrounded by a fantastic golf course. I love to go sit in the stands just to watch the elegant and majestic horses. They are truly gorgeous animals.

It's a great way to work on a tan, too. Fairly comfortable seating with refreshments and clean restrooms close by. No sand in your shorts, either.

Monday, August 1, 2011

While I was away ...

Life, here in Blogland and Etsy-ville, went on while I was Post-Free.

Most exciting (to me, anyway) was that I won the beautiful chainmaille earrings given away by Jessica over at The Chickadee Tree. They were waiting for me when I got home. Thank you, Jessica. I LOVE them!! I've worn them several times in the last few days and had numerous comments on them. (Yes, I gave out a few cards at a family party yesterday.)

And then there were the treasuries over at Etsy.

I may not have been around but my work was getting around. Though the mention is a little late, you may still want to check these collections out for some special gift ideas (or maybe just something for yourself).

On July 15, Alorasadorables featured my Baseball Playing Fish Set in a treasury called I'm Sew Into You a collection of fantastic toddler clothing.

When I got back the other day and got busy filling orders and updating the shop, I decided to go ahead and list some Halloween items. I know it seemed like I was rushing things a bit but a lot of folks are already featuring Christmas items!!

Almost immediately, Betsytkd curated a treasury she named Spooky which featured my Halloween Dog Onesie and on that same day (July 29), Teresa Heffernan included my Crocheted Halloween Trio in a treasury she called A Collection of Pumpkins!! I guess folks really are ready for Halloween ideas!!

, Bearly Here featured my I Speak Cookie Apron in a treasury called Speak Much?

I want to thank all these folks for helping promote my items in their treasuries. Every little mention is appreciated. I hope you'll take time to check out these treasuries and the many fine shops each features.

Oh yeah, while you're looking, take a moment to check out the shops of Alora's Adorables featuring vintage and antique textiles, quilts and more and Teresa's Heffernan's Crafts where she sells handmade soaps and hand crocheted and scented hot pads.

Well, I've got a lot of new merchandise that I've been working on and I hope to get them all photographed in the next day or two so I can begin listing them in the shop.

Please stop in and see what's new over at Splashin. I'll leave a light on for you.