Family, Knitting, Love, Uncategorized

Introducing: Jorjamae

It’s here. Finally.

Jorjamae.

The labor of love I’ve been working on for months is finally ready.

I’ve designed a knitting pattern in honor of my mother who passed away in 2014 and I’ve named it after her. It is a shawl knit from Malabrigo Silky Merino and it is divine to wear. The fabric as knit up is soft, silky and smooth (Malabrigo is good for that!).

There are two versions of the shawl. One is knit flat in two identical halves and then stitched together to create a 17×69 shawl. The second is also knit flat but it’s only one piece, it’s 25×69.

It is now available on Ravelry (link below)! With advice from Melissa Leapman, my knitting boss, my mentor and my very dear friend, I’ve created something that makes my heart feel full again. This is for you, Georgia Mae – my mom, my best friend, my angel.

EDITED 12.3.16 6:45PM CST: Click here go to pattern in Ravelry.

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Family, Love, Mom

A Little Left of Center

Tomorrow, August 31st, 2015, will be the one year anniversary since my mom passed away. For the most part I think I’m doing pretty darn good but sometimes I’m not so sure. I think that’s okay, that it’s all part of the grieving process.

Though lately I’ve been feeling kind of weird. I’m assuming it’s because of tomorrow but I don’t know.

I’ve felt hyper-sensitive, for lack of a better term,  for awhile and I don’t mean like you look at me and I fall apart in tears (okay, one day that DID happen but it’s all good). I mean, for example, in terms of taking a walk and smelling the air and seeing the butterflies and dragonflies lead me on the walking path, and soaking in EVERYTHING around me – colors, textures, sounds, light, air, movement – and feeling like I’m a little to the left of myself and everything feels so exaggerated! It doesn’t feel bad, quite the opposite, but I can’t put an exact word to what it DOES feel like. It’s happened a number of times over the last week or so. It’s happened on the bus, the train, just sitting at my desk in the office, standing in the dining room, walking through the park.

I don’t understand the feelings and I don’t know what to do about them or what I can do about them. Or if I even need to do anything about them at all.

My first husband passed away in early 2010 and while I grieved for him immensely and still think of him frequently, I don’t recall feeling like this when it was coming up on his anniversary. Maybe because we had a little over a year to get used to the idea that he’d be gone and that he knew who I was, even up to the end. And we had many conversations prior to his passing.

With my mom, she didn’t know who we all were the last few months. I strongly feel that she knew we were ‘safe’ and we wouldn’t harm her in any way. She would also get this glint in her eye or make a gesture or say a word that would make you think she’s all there because it was familiar and clear and HER and you thought ‘oh, there she is!’ and then it would pass. And you would keep your smile on your face and still love her because how could you not?

Perhaps what’s happening is that my mom is her angel self and staying near me right now knowing how much I miss her and how much I love her and how much I need her and she’s there to comfort me. I know, I know, everyone says their loved one who passed was the nicest person ever, etc. But you know what? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, she was that person. And there aren’t many of them, let me tell you. They’re quite rare, indeed.

There are people who don’t believe that could be possible, no one can be that nice or that good. But I firmly believe that it’s true. I grew up with an angel. She was my mom. So I think I know what I’ll do. I’ll let these feelings wash over me and just be. Because what I’ve been feeling lately must be an angel nearby, a guardian angel. My mom.

I was going to end this saying to my mom I pray she rests in peace. But you know what? I’m not going to. She’s already at peace.

Instead I say this to my guardian angel, my mom:

I want you to dance!

I want you to sing!

I want you to love the life you have in heaven!

I want you to bask in your happiness!

And I will revel in the memories I have with you!

I love you, mommy, with all my heart and soul!

Patty

Patty with her golden hair, in and out of everywhere.

What she does is many things from reading books to making rings.

She reads day in and day out, this what Patty’s future is all about.

She loves all kinds of books, from mysteries to books of jokes.

Patty is lovable in her way, she tries to show it every day.

Sometimes she is happy and then she is sad.

But when her mood is good, everyone is glad.

Written by: My mom (a little something my mom wrote when I was about 10 years old)

Family, Love, Mom

Mom 8.31.2014

Part of my hesitancy in putting out a new blog post the last couple of months is that I feel I have to explain where I’ve been since the last one (nearly 6 months ago now). But that’s just me putting pressure on myself. So I don’t have to listen that, right? Good, so I won’t.

But I do have a LOT to talk about. I won’t cover everything here because then you’d be reading for about a week. Really, I’m not kidding. Instead, I’ll just talk about a recent event. That seems more appropriate to me because well, of all that’s gone on in the last 6 months, this is THE most important. And it happened less then two weeks ago.

My mom died.

She died on August 31st, 2014 at the age of 70 (she would have been 71 on October 30th) and we had a memorial service/celebration of life for her on September 7th.

And you know what? I’m so terribly sad. I think she’d be okay with me being sad but I also think she’d want me to be relieved for her that she’s no longer in such agony and discomfort. And I get that, I do. It’s going to take awhile, but I know I’ll get there. I’ll rely on my tremendously supportive husband, my dear closest friends, and my loving family. We’ll all rely on each other, we’ll cope and we’ll find our way through this journey together, no matter long it takes.

I have to say something because it’s been on my mind so strongly and for so long now. And I’ve said it to a few people and had discussions with others. But I’m saying this here and now, loud and clear.

No one, I repeat, NO ONE should ever have to experience any sort of memory affliction. It’s evil and it eats away at the person you once knew. It morphs them into a different person. And while you still love this person, deep down it’s not ever quite the same feeling, it’s so different I can’t even explain it. It didn’t lessen my love for my mom, not at all. But it did break my heart.

Admittedly, our family was a bit lucky in that regard because once in a while, when you least expected it, mom talked clear as a bell! It may have only been a word or two or three, or if you were lucky, four or five. But by gosh, you knew she KNEW what she was talking about. And then it was back to not being able to communicate and witnessing her obvious frustration. That’s what makes me the saddest. This woman was such a delight to talk with and be around, so to have speech and thought taken away from her was downright cruel.

I know what some people are thinking. You’re thinking that what I should probably be saddest about is that she isn’t here any longer, and believe me that does sadden me, so deeply I can’t even express it properly. But I’m also profoundly affected by the fact that I can no longer talk to the woman who raised me and my two siblings. The delightful woman that I haven’t been able to talk to for a number of years the way we used to, because of this stupid and cruel disease. I know it seems like these are one and the same thing, her being gone and my not being able to talk to her, but there’s a difference. I just can’t explain it.

I can cope and I will, with the help of others. But I will forever be missing a part of my very being with her no longer here on earth.

I love you, mommy. Forever and ever.

(I’m the child on her lap. This is circa 1968.)

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Art Show, Artwork, Family, People

Friday Night Art Show

My husband’s brother, Stan Fellows, is a prolific watercolor artist and illustrator (for over 35 years, I believe). He’s extremely talented and as Sugar put it the other day, you can’t swing a, well, you can’t swing anything in this house without seeing one of Stan’s pieces. We’ve both purchased them over the years because they’re so varied and appealing. They range from outdoor birds to snow covered tree trunks to glorious flowers to stadiums and horses, and all of them still retain some of the actual pencil drawing he does to start them. They also typically have some journaling aspect to them, a comment or quote of some kind. They’re colorful, they’re interesting to look at and in my opinion, there’s a bit of Stan’s heart and soul in every picture.

Stan’s friend, Sandy, held a showing for him on Friday night – a meet and greet (and buy, hopefully!) if you will at her house. It was a lovely time with great people, wonderful food and wine, and a beautiful display of his work. And from what I could tell as a wandered about and through the house, quite a few sales. Here are a few photos from the evening.

The artist and moi.

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The artist and his hostesses. They really put on a wonderful event.

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Just a random shot through the window of the studio.IMG_8400

One of the books Stan illustrated about John Muir. Sugar purchased this for me after our honeymoon (where we visited Muir Woods) and Stan signed it for me at this event. <See photo after the book.> John Muir book

The drawing you see literally took him maybe 4 minutes and he was having multiple conversations at the time, along with getting his picture taken with his hostesses.

Seriously? I can’t draw a straight line WITH a ruler without concentration.IMG_8460

A couple of his paintings that were on display.

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 A page from one of his sketchbooks.

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Stan and his two brothers.

It has been over two years since all three were together in one place so this was a fun shot to capture. IMG_0304 - Version 2

This is the painting I bought and today I framed it (with advice from Sugar).

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It’s so pretty! I originally was going to hang it work but now I’m thinking it has to be here at home.

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Stan’s pants give new definition to ‘painter’s pants’. They look great with a sport coat, don’t they?

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That’s all I’ve got peeps, go Google him, go Bing him…just check him out. You just might find yourself inspired by his work.

Thanks for stopping by, it’s very much appreciated. 🙂

Family, Fun, Love

Glug, Glug, Glug

That title is so not true. I only had what probably amounted to less than ¼ cup of wine at the winery today. But I did eat about a handful of the grapes that we harvested as I was moving down the rows with my lug (lug = container to hold grapes sheared off the vines). Of what do I speak? Well, before I get to that I want to talk about lunch yesterday.

I grew up in a household with one brother (a year younger) and one sister (a year older), my mom and her second husband. Marv had two children from a previous marriage, Shari who is a couple of years older than me and her brother Terry, he passed away in 1990 (I’m not positive on the year). The five of us kids spent time lots of time together over the years here and there, but as we all got older and became adults we grew apart. Sad really, when I give it serious thought, because what a loss it has been to not have interacted with my step-sister (whom I call Sis) for the last 25 years. She has been married that whole time and with her husband Patrick, raised three great kids.

Thanks to Facebook (heaven forbid credit goes there but I have to give it where it’s due), Shari and I found each other and began communicating again last year. It was so wonderful to hear from her and attempt to get caught up via Facebook, but because of life and its various challenges we just weren’t able to make a real meeting happen until yesterday.

The four of us, Shari and Patrick, Sugar and I, met up at a restaurant out in the boonies and had a blast of a time for nearly two hours. And we all swore it won’t take 25 years to schedule another lunch. I love you, Sis. Oh, and Patrick, you’re still pretty cool in my book.

Patrick & Shari

Sugar & Cakers

Oh yes, the winery, you want to know about that don’t you? There’s a really cool place about 50 or so miles from our house where people can participate in the harvesting of the grapes in the fall. I’d never heard of it, I don’t think I even knew until a couple of months ago that certain places in Minnesota grew their own grapes and manufactured their own wine. I know, silly me.

At any rate, Sugar said he’d done this once before and he thought I’d enjoy myself as well. I did enjoy myself and in fact, I’m on board to do it again next year. But rather than me explaining why they allow us common folk to help harvest the grapes (our group harvested around 5,000 pounds today, and the grape we harvested was called Prairie Star) and to give you more information about the winery and how you can participate (it’s free, ya’ll!), here’s the link to Cannon River Winery.

And now I give you photos. Enjoy.