Saturday, December 18, 2010

What to Try for Next Year

Really, what do I want to try for next year? I think that I am ready to expand my horizons and spread my wings in the world of art. Enter some other exhibits, some that are hard for me to venture toward, try some galleries, expand the fiber art. Oh my God! What am I thinking?!?

I think my husband is rubbing off on me. He is venturing forth, again, into the world of fine art. He is very good. I think he has a great chance of doing well. And he keeps telling me that I need to get out there. Try something new. Yikes!

The only problem with this is that I am a very private person. I like to keep to myself and am happy to be by myself. I enjoy others, but how much will I have to extend myself if I try out this new venture? Who will be there? What will they think? I guess that unless I try it, I'll never know.

So, 2011 will be the year to put it on the line. To put it out there. To stick my neck out. Enough platitudes. I'm going to jump on the roller coaster and take a ride.

I hope that you will jump on with me!


Friday, December 10, 2010


We strive to be wise, to do the right thing, to have our actions and thoughts reflect us in a higher value. When I reflect back on 2010 I wonder where and when I was wise, and what was the wisest decision that I made.

I think the wisest decision was moving my studio into my son's bedroom. He told us that he wasn't coming home for the summer from school. He didn't need to have the room preserved for him any longer. It could become something else.

My daughter and husband urged, pushed, cajoled me to move into that space. After all, it was twice the size of the room that I was using, and it had so much light and higher ceilings. It would be great for me.

So I began the move. This entailed my boxing up what he had left here, and putting those things that were precious to him in storage. What a journey that was. The legos from his childhood, notes and reports from high school. Equipment from his summer job as a beach lifeguard. Each box was an event.

I cried that I was ruining the chances that he would ever return. How could I take over his childhood room? It wasn't right.

But after a while, I began to see what I could have if I did move there. The light. The space. The windows. The new and ever changing view. Maybe this would be ok.

His first visit home after the move was a little weird. He was in the guest room, now a guest. He didn't mind. He said is was ok.

And then I began to really enjoy my new space. In fact I found that I loved it! Just really loved being in that room. Exploring. Creating. Growing. Maybe that is what it was all about. He grew here. I helped him. And now his space is helping me.

Wisdom. To accept change and growth. To continue to explore. And to know that, in reality, it really is just a room. The home is what we do in the building.


Thursday, December 9, 2010


Social gatherings. Who, what, when and where was the best gathering that rocked my socks in 2010? I've got to say that it was a wedding, the first of our kids friends to get married, and the first for our dear friends.

We've known the bride since we moved here in 1997. She and my son were almost instant friends in elementary school and that friendship still exists today. Her parents became our dear friends and we are together several times a year to celebrate such holidays as the World's Shortest 4th of July parade and the lowest tide of the year. You know, those common events.

But back to the wedding! What made this so special was that it was also our daughter's 21st birthday. She wasn't thrilled, at first, then realized that it was a great way to start her partying! My son was home for the wedding and brought his wonderful girlfriend. We were all ready to celebrate this joining of two really special people.

The weather was great, but had been preceded by days and days of overcast and cold. The wedding took place at one of our local lighthouses. On the Jetty. At the ocean. Spray flowing over all of us to help cool down the air and just add to the joyous occasion. A very small and intimate affair, followed by a reception at a local restaurant.

Free flowing spirits. Music. Laughter. Fabulous food. And we danced our butts off. All of us. Together, a dancing family of joy and happiness for our dear friend.

Weddings are by nature a happy event, but this one was over the top. It seemed every person in attendance was at the top of their game. Laughter was loud and often. Cheers abundant. Congratulations on every lip. We were HAPPY in the most basic sense. Just sheer happiness overall.

It is such a pleasure to join together with those that you love, and to share in such an intimate occasion. I will never forget how I felt that night when I finally dropped into bed. The kids, however, continued on until 4 am with their partying! Ah, to be young again!

Joyful Noise!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


What makes me beautifully different? Bottom line. I am different. I've always thought differently. My red hair makes me look different. Being different has always been a part of me.

Perhaps what people see is that I believe in consequences. I believe in redemption. I know we can be better, kinder, less focused on material goods and being "better" than others. I hope to be good, and am sometimes bad, but strive to do the right thing.

Doing the right thing, though, changes upon circumstance, environment, even day of the week. And sometimes even planning it, it turns out wrong, or rather, not right.

And I do wonder what impact this will have at the end of my life. Will my actions and thoughts really light others up? Will they be inspired? Will they remember me? Will there be light once again at the end of the tunnel?

But really, what counts, what is really important is what I do while I am here. There may be an after-life but I'm not counting on it. I don't look forward to "heaven" where everything is wonderful. I work to make my life here, on terra firma, as heavenly as I can, as fulfilled, as deep, as passionate as I can. I want there to be a mark when I'm gone: a scorch in the earth where my light once shined so brightly that it left a mark. Maybe that's what makes me different. This is what I have. This is who I am. I will be there for you, with you, looking forward to what is coming next. Lighting it up!

Different? Perhaps, but aren't we all just a bit different? Isn't that what lights us all up, keeps the flow going, inspires and tires us, and makes life interesting?

Make a difference. Make it count. We never know what it will end.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Where do we find our community? I've found mine here in Santa Cruz county, one of the most marvelous places to live! Wasn't born here but spent so much of my childhood here that it has always felt like home.

When we made the decision to move from San Jose to Aptos, it was hard leaving the community that I had always known. We were moving only 45 minutes away yet it seemed like a world away. I still see my dad's face as we pulled out of the driveway on our last load to the new house.

From metropolis to beach town. From Silicon Valley to the beach. Quite a difference.

I found community at first with the kids and their schools and all the activity that entails. Then it was the kids sports and that involvement. And along the way I became a quilter and fiber artist.

It happened because our first winter here it rained for 19 days in a row and I needed to do something new and fulfilling. My sister quilted and I never understood why you would cut fabric into small pieces and then sew it back together.

But now I get it. Boy do I get it. And I haven't stopped since 1997!

And along with this new love came a new community. We have here one of the most fabulous quilt guilds ever. From the newbies to world famous quilters and fiber artists, all coming together to share their knowledge and learn together.

After finding the guild I decided that I needed more and opened my own Quilt shop, full of rich colors, wonderful people, and constant sharing of ideas. A warm, loving, giving community which stretched around the world as I had customers from all over the world. And I loved this community.

But things change and the shop had to go. What remains are connections to that community, memories of these communities, and the willingness to continue to build new communities.

Reach out and become part of those opportunities for community that arise. You never know what will grow from the experience.


Monday, December 6, 2010


I've registered for this series in which we write daily based on a prompt. And post on our blogs. At least that is what I think I'm to do, so here goes...

Make. What was the last thing that I made?

I just finished a wall hanging for myself, based on a design that I have up for sale at etsy. It is holiday inspired, but personally felt.

For days and days, whenever I was driving I was thinking about a White Dove. What could I do with it? Why was I focused on a white dove? What did it mean? So I looked at images of doves, spotted one I liked, pulled fabric and got to work.

The first dove piece I made was for JOY, not a person, just the joy of making it. Upon finishing my husband asked if I had drawn the dove. I confessed that it was an image from a religious site that lets you use them if you sign up for their doctrine. I didn't sign but used the image with some changes. I don't do religion.

So he asked me to draw a dove if I was going to make any more pieces. I reminded him that I do not draw, and he volunteered to draw one for me (one of the reasons that I married him) that I could use. And that is the dove that I used for my PEACE wall piece.

I love making these wall quilts. It frees my spirit. It opens up possibilities. It uses up my stash. It pleases others. It's fun. Sometimes people buy them.

But most of all, I now know why I was thinking of white doves. It is the beginning of something that I'm not quite sure of yet, but am willing to go toward.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving of Thanks

It is almost here, that day of self-indulgence, of being with as much of the family as you can gather, to eat, drink and be merry. I'm hosting the family again, and I'm looking forward to the drinking and being merry. This year I've asked those who want to help with the meal to bring whatever they want. I did not need to know. I did not care. And boy has this caused a some confusion.

I will make the turkey, dressing, potato dishes, cranberry sauce. That's what I like. And if we have 5 pies to go with this, who could be upset. Not a balanced meal? Who cares. No greens! Get enough of that the rest of the time.

My friend, Thom Akins, quilter and beader extrodinaire, told me that at their Thanksgiving meals all they have is turkey, cranberries, and pie. I love that. He said who cares about the rest, that's all that they like so they indulge! Life is too short.

So we shall see what walks in the door tomorrow! I did buy (I can't believe it but I did) a pumpkin pie for my wonderful husband because he was stressing that maybe no one would bring one. I told him we could have it for breakfast on Friday!

Here's to being with those who you love and who love you back. There are so many who don't have this luxury.

And for those of you who are into the indulgence of shopping: enjoy your Friday. I'll be with my kids and husband, feet up, good book and some sewing by my side. Really, I have enough. They have enough. None of us is wanting for anything. And, in my own little way, I'm trying to go back to the days when we got one gift under the tree. And we were happy!

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Our Veterans

I am one of the biggest Peace freaks around. I wear a peace symbol each and every day. I hate war. I hate fighting. But I support our military. I support each and every one of these fine men and women who have chosen to protect our country and others. I do not buy into what our military is doing right now. We must stop this war. We must leave. We cannot win. We have lost so many lives.

But last night I sat with my husband and watched something on the History channel about WWII. Wow. I've never studied war. I took to heart the hymn "Don't Study War No More" or whatever it is called. But I honestly did not realize how many people died in that war. How deeply brutal it was. My dad fought in that war but never, never spoke of it. And now he can't.

My nephew is in the Army as a Ranger. He knew I would be upset when he joined. I am very proud of him. And every time I see him, when we part I ask only that he return.

On this Veteran's Day we must honor those who have passed and those who currently served and those who still suffer the harshness of war. May we continue to work to honor and help all of those who come home, damaged, through no fault of their own. And work each day toward Peace.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

SF Giants

I have been so caught up in this baseball team that I actually found myself making decisions around their post-season schedule! It all worked out as they are now the WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS!!! And I love it! I rushed home yesterday from a grueling 7:45 am hearing in Oakland to watch the parade, looking for my daughter who was in the crowd (like I could really see her!) and just basking in the excitement that this team has brought all of us.

LOVE it.

On Tuesday I was in San Francisco at another hearing. The hearing location is actually right next to AT & T park. No game but the crowds were huge. Everybody buying memorabilia of the Giants. People waiting 3 hours in line! The parking lots full. Yikes. But actually pretty cool to see it all.

On leaving I met an 82 year old man in the parking structure who had just bought a t-shirt for his 10 year old son. We struck up a conversation (well, he actually just kept talking to me) and I found out a lot about him and his military duty and his history and where he lives and way too much but I was being kind and listening.

What really got me is this gentleman told me that in December of last year he was in Lake Tahoe, gambling, and on a whim bought a ticket, on a lark, that the SF Giants would win the World Series! On a lark! For $10. He was just thrilled to tell the tale. The sparkle in his eyes. The joy on his face. His 82 year old spirit lifted by his chance purchase. Now, if he could only remember where he put his ticket!!! Oh well. He was sure that he would find it before it expires in December. And his winnings? $10,000! Amazing! Love this story.

So, this week we have had Halloween, winning the World Series, the election, the World Series Parade, and today we are back to a normal day. Or is it?!?

Enjoy your day.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Birthday Celebrations

Today marks the 24th day of birth for my son. Amazing. He has brought us such joy over the years. And some strife, too, after all, he did go through those wonderful years that I refer to as "testosterone surges"! The end result was well worth it.
Why am I thinking of him this day. Mostly because I can't talk to him and that is torture for me. He is in nursing school and today was the first day of three in a row where he is doing "clinicals" which means he is on the floor, on the ward, from 7 am until 7 pm. And then what follows is some paperwork prep for the next day. So his is really under the gun.

He has followed a different path. Graduated from UCLA with a major in Spanish. Traveled to Barcelona for a semester of school. Trained as a Firefighter. Trained as a Paramedic. Spent years as a Lifeguard on our local beaches. Saved lives. Controlled crowds. Directed the tourists. And now medical school. So he can work in the ER. Hopefully on to become a Flight Nurse. In a helicopter. Flying into the most damaged and doing repairs and saving lives. Who would have known! This Magic Card player, this Leggo worker, this Water Polo player, this Rugby player...we never know where they will land, do we. Land, water, fire. He has dabbled in a lot. I wish him the very best, because he deserves it. And I hope he has comfortable shoes for these three days!

Peace on!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Been a Long Time

Wow, it has been a long time since I've posted. Back in June we still had a kid in the house, and life was a bit different. Now with both of our kids out on their own, we are adjusting to a different life-style!

What is nice is that it gives me more time to make art or craft or whatever it is at the moment. I've been working on several art quilts, along with some quilts with my own patterns. I will post when they are done, or when I get around to doing the photography. That really seems to be the problem some days.

I did finally finish the Double Wedding Ring quilt. The first time I've done such a traditional pattern. And the first time I hand-pieced a quilt top, well, at least 95% of it is hand pieced. I did machine piece the border as I felt it needed some stability at that point. And even though the tradition is to hand-quilt, sorry, I sent it out to my friend, Mike, the golfing, surfing, quilter! I LOVE his work. He is just such a fabulous quilter, and a really great person on top of it all. If you ever want him to quilt something for you, let me know and I'll send his info out to you.

The wedding for which the Wedding Ring quilt was made was also a great experience. A beautiful day on the Monterey Bay, at one of our lighthouses, with the sea mist hanging over us all and mother nature all around us. The reception was fabulous, danced way too much for this old body, but had so much fun with my husband, kids, and their friends!

So, in between watching the SF Giants games, hand quilting some art pieces, and creating in the studio and doing actual work for money, life is good. Actually life is Great! The paralegal work I do is just enough to keep my right brain engaged so that my left brain can breathe. Or is it vice-versa? Whichever, both sides of the old brain are engaged and chugging on. Now back to quilting my latest piece.

Peace to all.

Friday, June 18, 2010

June and Father's Day

June is such a wonderful month, what with school ending for the kids, brides getting married, our wedding anniversary, and Father's Day! Both my husband and dad have June birthdays which further expands our celebratory dates. And, while most of the time my husband and I forget our anniversary, I think this year we might just remember. But what is really worth remembering is the marriage, which has been very good and just getting better. Who would have thought that I would be married for 28 years and counting! Wow!

With all the fun things that June brings, this Father's day also makes my heart break. My dad has Parkinson's Disease. I HATE PARKINSON'S. I hate what it does to productive people. I hate that it traps my dad in his body, preventing him from being the vibrant person that I catch glimpses of in his eyes. I hate that it has taken him from me.

But what I have decided to do, to combat this, is to remember who and what he was, and just relish those memories, and accept that he is who he is now. It's not his fault. It's just the luck of the draw. And I know in my heart and soul that I am learning something from this. I'm just now sure yet what it is. Yet, I still have him to love and hug and remind me that all good things come to pass.

My husband should be honored this Father's Day also. He has been a truly wonderful father. My 23 year old son just called him yesterday and told him that he now sees that his dad was "right" about so many things. That is an honor! And my husband deserves it.

We all had or have Dads. Let's lift a toast to them and all that they have taught us. I know not all dads are good. I know some should not even be honored. But somewhere in your heart there must be that man who did make a difference in your life. Let him know. He deserves it!

Now I'll head back to my sewing and quilting and waiting for my new embellishing machine. That's my little reward for the care-giving that I'm doing with the fossils (my parents) these days.

Peace to all of you.

Friday, May 7, 2010

May and Mother's Day

Mother's Day approaches. Another Hallmark Holiday. We are bombarded with ads and have-tos and guilt-itis. As I start this post I am reminded that Mother's Day has been around for a very long time. Even before Hallmark. Guess I should keep quiet on that one.

Mothers. The other night I met with my group of lady friends for dinner and celebrating. The dinner was originally planned to celebrate Mother's Day, however, it was then changed into a surprise birthday celebration for the organizer. It worked. Dana did not have a clue that we were celebrating her 50th birthday. What got me was a statement by one of my friends that she expected to be celebrated on Mother's Day. Her comment was that she didn't ask to be born but that she had "worked" to be a mother.

I'd never thought of it that way. I've always just felt blessed to be a mother. I too have worked hard at it, done things that were very hard for me, held and pushed my kids in ways that I wish my mom had done for me. Having kids has been the hardest job that I've ever had. But I've NEVER expected to be rewarded for it. It was just the right thing to do.

To me Mother's Day is stressful. I have to be with my mother and the other mothers in my family. I could opt out, I guess, but that isn't the right thing to do. I enjoy being with my husband and kids on Mother's Day, just like I enjoy being with them every other day. And if I get my strawberry chocolate eclair from The Farm, well, I am then just in heaven. But I really do not expect a celebration.

Guess I'm just weird that way. I just want to be treated well, all the time, not just on a day. I love to be honored, but not on a specific day but for something that I've done or helped with.

However, this is of course just my opinion.

May your Mother's Day be filled with Joy, Love and above all Peace.

Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother's secret hope outlives them all. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Monday, April 12, 2010

And Life Goes On and On

It has been quite a while since I last posted. I'm still working on the Double Wedding Ring quilt. I will love it when it is done. It is just so NOT ME but I am enjoying each and every hand placed stitch. I've contacted my friend Mike, the golfing, surfing quilter who is FABULOUS and hope that he will be quilting it for me. Now to just get it done...

The rest of life has kept me busy. I'm still moving my studio. I've packed all my son's belongings and moved them into the guest room but there are still a few hangers-on of mine in there that need to be moved. It was really hard for me to pack a lot of his things. But no where as hard as it was for him to go through them when he visited us a few weeks ago. I can still remember packing up my room at my parents house. I thought I'd taken it all, but when I moved them almost 50 years later to another home, there were things of mine still there.

I love my son and there will always be a place for him here, but I really don't want his stuff here. He had a long trip down memory lane just going through a few boxes. I know we will both get through this.

I've been taking care of my parents since the end of last month. My sister and her husband are on a month-long trip and my brother doesn't seem to have the time to do it. It is so hard to be with them, to watch them in this state of elderliness, to work with them to make it through each day. My dad's Parkinson's caused two falls in the same day a couple of weeks ago. This resulted in a 911 call, a trip to the ER, and somehow, no broken bones. His tailbone is still hurting him, but I know eventually that will heal. The hard part is convincing my mom that his Parkinson's is not his fault. She seems to believe he can do something about it...

How do we get so old? How do we fall behind and out of circulation? They are both so lonely but I can't be the only source of entertainment, mostly because I'm not so entertaining! How do we get through this...

Pack the boxes. Sort the stuff. Let go of the things that we aren't using. But that doesn't mean let go of the people when they are no longer useful...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Double Wedding Ring

Oh why did I say I would do it? My son's long-time friend, our family friend's daughter, is getting married. I, of course, want her to have a quilt. And, on the way to her parent's house for a holiday party I thought it would be fun to create something with her mom, for her...and low and behold, there was the quilt top. Presented to me. In all it's glory.

Fine vintage fabric. Almost finished. I mean, how much would it take to finish it?

Well, after really looking at it, without the soothing comfort of delicious egg nog made by Gary (whose recipe should be illegal) I see it for what it really is. Someone's attempt at a double wedding ring. But something was just a little off.  It would not lie flat. The pieces did not fit well together. It was just a bit off. But that could be fixed. I was sure of it!

Several days later, after more research on Double Wedding Ring quilts, I have the solution. Take it apart and do it over. Yikes! But what was wrong was that the background fabric pieces were not cut properly and, therefore, the quilt would never lie flat. And we had wanted to take out the muslin and replace it with new fabric anyway. Right? Just to update it!

But now I have to trim the rings so that they fit properly. And cut all new background pieces. And sew it all back together. By hand, because that is how it was started...

What is wonderful is that it is working out. It does look good. It will work. And the whole time that I am working on it I am wondering what the first woman was doing who first pieced this quilt. What was she like? Who was she? Why did she start this quilt? Where did she get the fabric? Who taught her to quilt? What is the history of this piece?

The final quilt will go to a wonderful young lady and her new husband. I approved of him the first time I met him, and, I'll tell you, I don't approve of many young men so quickly. This will be part of their new life. The quilt will keep them warm and provide for them the beginning of their history. We'll let them know what we can find out about this quilt. I'm hoping that we will be able to establish who began this whole process.

This is what it is all about. Passing it on. Melding the past with the future. It is not all about Twitter or iPhones or texting or even blogging. It is about passing our hearts and information on to the next generation. Paying it forward. Keeping it going. Passing the love forward.

Now, I sure hope I can get this done in time...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Water Water Everywhere

It all started on the 29th of December. I heard a strange sound in the kitchen and, after we went through every appliance, we discovered a small leak in one of the water lines to our kitchen sink. Oh dear! Well, we phoned our local plumber, Surf City Plumbing, who sent out Mike the very next day.

Mike is a great guy and a great plumber. He pulled out the copper pipe and replaced it with some new fangeled pipe that should last a million years, well, not really, but a long time. He noticed a bit of mold on the back wall and we told him we had already called the insurance company on this problem. He also noticed a stain on the ceiling which we thought was a dripping faucet in our shower. He said he'd be back to fix that if we wanted.

Well, that started the entourage. Disaster Abatement guys followed. Great guys too, Juan and Lorenzo. They cordoned off our kitchen with plastic, put up a clean room, tore off siding from under the kitchen window, brought in fans and then air cleaners. Lots of NOISE. Lots of PLASTIC. No kitchen, no bathroom. Bummer. We moved our kitchen to the laundry room. Ate dinner out. Thought we would be ok.

Humman came and tested for mold. We're ok. Take down the plastic. Use your bathroom. One week without both was a bummer. Uh Oh. No. Our mold abatement guy read the report wrong. Bathroom ok. Kitchen not.  More plastic, more fans, more hassle.

Then we found a small leak in our environmentally run furnace. A water leak. Yikes. No one makes this model air flow furnace anymore. But someone in Texas has the replacement part! Yeah! It should be here today. The plumber is lined up to put it in. We are anxiously waiting for the UPS driver to get here. We haven't had heat for a week. And it's been cold. We do have fireplaces, which we use at night. But it gets crispy during the day.

It has now been seven weeks. We still do not have our kitchen back. It is still under plastic. Hopefully today this can come down.

And I am keeping my fingers crossed that today we will again have heat. Wow.

The Big Surf Contest is on for this weekend at Mavericks. Those are some big waves. Of water. Powerful water. Just stay out of my house unless you can behave!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Wonder of Silence

Living on the coast in California has been a challenge this last week. More rain falling more violently than I can remember. We are fortunate that there has not been any flooding or mud slides where we live. And for the most part, everything is just wet. We did lose our power for 24 hours.

I was surprised at how much I really expect to have electricity. What! I couldn't check my email, my etsy account, check in with others on Facebook. I was out of communication. With the exception of REAL communication, like TALKING to one another. Not emailing. Not texting ( I don't do this anyway). No Googling anything.

This at first was a bother, and then I realized that I was being give a reprieve. I didn't have to listen to the horrid news regarding the idiots in our Supreme Court. I did not have to watch the videos of Haiti. I didn't have to feel guilty by not giving during the televised fund-raiser. I've already donated. I don't need to be forced to give more.

It was nice to sit by the fire, in candle-light, with my husband and daughter, and TALK. We just talked about so many things. No noise. No music. No TV. No hum of the electronics. It was gently quiet. And peaceful. And, today reflecting back on it, purely wonderful.

No, I don't want to regress and cut the cord with the electric company. I do like my electronics. But I really believe that once in a while, we need to remember to get back in touch with us, with our inner beings, with quiet and peace.