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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Beaches, Fun, Honeymoon, Love, Us

Cali-moon: Part 4 – Beaches of Bodega Bay & Beyond

This is going to be a photo intensive post so it may take a bit to load. For that I apologize. However, I can’t apologize for wanting to share the beauty that is the Bodega Bay area. Thank you to LL from work for letting us in on the secret that is Bodega Bay. However, the photos include not only Bodega Bay and its beaches but also the Muir Beach Overlook and Stinson Beach.

Just reviewing these photos for the post have me wanting to return. Here’s hoping we get to go back in the near future.

(Note: the photos aren’t in any particular order but they cover Muir Beach Overlook, Stinson Beach, Bodega Head and School House Beach in Bodega Bay.)

I must express my gratitude and my love to my husband for suggesting we bring some of the ashes of my former husband (FJA) who passed away from cancer, with us to leave on some perfect spot. We had no idea, of course, where that spot would be before we left on our honeymoon. But after we found Bodega Head we knew *that* was the perfect place.

We were both quiet for a bit and then we spread his ashes out above Bodega Head (8th photo down), all the while visualizing FJA grinning and nodding his head in approval.

I love you both to my very core.

KDO

Beach

Pebbles

Beach 3

Stinson Beach

Shoes

Shells

Bodega Head FJA

Flowers

Clams

Pebbles Shell

Beach2

Bodega Head

Night Beach

Beach Sunset

Beach Rock

Cakers

Muir Beach OL2

Seaweed

Muir Beach OL

Food, Fun, Honeymoon, Love

Cali-moon: Part 2 – San Francisco Treat

We decided to spend the second day of our honeymoon in San Francisco. We’d both been to San Francisco before, for different reasons in our lives and with other people. I’d been there with my best friend, RT, and I also had the opportunity to meet up with a knitting friend, Marie, who gave me a lovely tour of San Francisco and on south to Monterey Bay. Sugar and I had hoped to meet up with my friend, KWAW, but unfortunately, that didn’t turn out. However, the next time we’re in San Francisco, we will have to do that so I can find out where in heavens name he stashes all the yarn he’s lucky enough to get at thrift stores! But I digress. 🙂

Now you’re left wondering what we did, aren’t you? Well, let’s see. There’s really SO much that I’m sure I’ll forget something, but I’ll just blame it on my age. Okay, here goes.

We:

  • Ate delicious food – how can you not? It’s all right THERE!
  • Watched the seals play. They make the silliest sounds, seriously.
  • Visited the aquarium where I got to see my favorite thing – jelly fish!
  • Went shopping (he spoiled me *just* a little). Everybody say, “awww!” at the same time now.
  • Walked the length of the piers and checked out the sailboats (it was busy because of the America’s Cup) and people-watched (there’s a law that you have to do that in San Francisco. Just know that so you’re prepared).
  •  Took a tour of San Francisco and the surrounding areas via double-decker bus.
  • Experienced a temperature change that had even ME going to the lower level for a few minutes to warm up, while heading into fog near the Golden Gate Bridge…which we couldn’t see because of the aforementioned fog.
  • Got off the bus in Chinatown and had a fabulous walk-about, which included being offered a ginormous table and 8 chairs for a mere $2,500 which was quite the steal because, as he snootily pointed out in his fake accent, “It normally retails for $12,000!”. We literally had to back ourselves out of the store to get away from him. And then we laughed and made fun of him more, Sugar saying he thought he was really from Wisconsin, not France.
  • Enjoyed a wonderful libation at the end of the day at a lovely bar in Chinatown before we headed back to the BART station and on to the AMTRAK which took us back to our car in Fairfield.

As I noted before, I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few things and Sugar can feel free to remind me. All in all, we both had a lovely and memorable day in San Francisco. So, go there! Do everything, don’t miss anything. It’s fun, it’s fascinating and I think I fell more in love with Sugar that very day.

Top left corner photo is of the Coit Tower. Sugar and I did not visit it, but I did get to see it previously with my friend Marie, I thought I was going to die walking up to it, such a steep walk! But let me tell you, it was totally worth it. The other two photos are from the pier area.

Pier

Silly things we saw while on the pier shopping.

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The aquarium!!

Octopus

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Double-decker bus ride – a view of the Haight Ashbury area.

Bus

Chinatown – I want to go back. There’s so much to see and explore!

Chinatown

Fun, Honeymoon, Love, Us

Cali-moon: Part 1 – Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Yes, I just made up a new hyphenated word combining California and honeymoon, Cali-moon. Pretty clever, don’t you think? Ok, ok, I can take a hint, on with the post.

Speaking of which, it’s taken me forever to get this started for two big reasons. One, when we got home from our honeymoon I realized I had over 1,800 pictures to go through. Second, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how I should format the blog post. I put a lot of effort into these and I didn’t want people to fall asleep reading it because it’s so long (as you might be now, so go get more coffee, it will wait), yet there’s a lot that I’d like to share. So how do I do it?

But thanks to a friend of mine I think I’ve found a happy medium, multiple posts with each one talking about a part of our honeymoon. So simple, yet so brilliant. Thank you, Chandra, you were a life saver. 🙂

PLANES: The fun began at the airport almost immediately. After we got through the pat down, I mean security, we stopped at a Caribou to grab a bite of breakfast and coffee, and then headed to our terminal and gate to wait for our flight. We no sooner sat down at what turned out to be a really nice gate area when Sugar noticed our terminal and gate had changed. All the way to the opposite end of the airport. You can’t help but laugh, right? So we laughed and began walking.

As we waited to board our flight I started knitting the scarf I had brought along with me. Once on the plane after I had settled in and we were in the air, I reached down to my backpack for it to continue. Not there. Checked the back pocket in front of me. Not there. I was so disappointed. Not only had I left my knitting back at the MSP airport, that meant I’d also left one of my very expensive, new circular knitting needles. I was nearly in tears. Then for some reason I decided to reach down and slightly behind me…there was the ziploc baggie with my knitting AND the needles. It must have fallen out of my backpack as I was settling in. Whew…now the trip could continue without being upset. More importantly, I had knitting with me. Yay!

We arrived in the early afternoon and when we went to pick up our luggage, we saw this awesome luggage ‘sculpture’! How cool is that?

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Our hotel for the first two nights was in Fairfield, right near a grocery store, a handful of restaurants and the freeway. It had an outdoor pool and outdoor hot tub and was a really nice place. We essentially spent the afternoon grabbing a bite to eat (at an In-N-Out Burger, won’t eat there again), getting groceries, ordering tickets for the train and BART for the following Sunday to San Francisco, and generally relaxing. The weather was incredible and we spent a bit of time outside at the hot tub, swishing our feet around in the water and enjoying an adult beverage.

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TRAINS: Before our trip I had never been on Amtrak but I had taken BART before on a couple of the trips I’d taken to Oakland with RT and to San Francisco and the surrounding areas. But I really had no idea what to expect on an Amtrak train.

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We wanted to spend the day after we arrived in San Francisco but Sugar didn’t want to drive  there and then try to park and deal with an unfamiliar place, plus, it was a holiday weekend so who knew how crazy and busy it could end up being. Oh, and the America’s Cup was happening right on the pier in SF and that could have really made things complicated. So he came up with the idea of taking Amtrak as far as we could to San Francisco and then grab BART. What a great idea that turned out to be – we only had to drive to the Amtrak station just a few short miles from our hotel and then, of course, reverse that on the way back. Easy peasy!

And you know what? I liked the train, I really did. It was comfortable, it was quiet and you can really see a wonderful part of the countryside that you might not be able to otherwise. (More about our day trip to San Francisco in a later post.)

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Another day on our honeymoon we took another train ride, but this time on a rather luxurious one. It was domed and all glass and we enjoyed a lovely lunch on it. We sat at a table with another couple who were also on their honeymoon, and also going to the Castello di Amarosa for a tour of the winery that yes, was in a CASTLE. But I digress.

The train ride was truly such a treat – amazing food, gorgeous countryside views – I really wished the ride to the winery would take longer but we eventually arrived at a stop where we got off to transfer to a bus that would take us to the winery. Now that, my friends, was the best tour I’d been on in years. Perhaps ever, and all because of our tour guide. Seriously, he made the tour so enjoyable that I wanted to sneak around and come back in to go through it with him again (I bet Sugar did, too). More on the castle in a later post (I know, I’m torturing you but you’ll survive the wait and it will be worth it) but here are a few pictures of the train ride to keep you happy for awhile longer.

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AUTOMOBILES: Not much to say about this category, it just made the blog post title sound better.

Watch for the second post later this week titled Cali-moon: Part 2 – San Francisco Treat.

Thanks for stopping by!

Love, Us, Wedding

Six Weeks

It’s been six weeks since Sugar and I got married. Some of our family and our closest friends joined us for a lovely luncheon and celebration, and we all had such a great time. We are both so grateful they could join us.

I wore a mulberry colored dress, had purple bangs, false eyelashes and silver, sparkly shoes. And Sugar was handsome as all get out in his suit and my favorite tie of his. Since then life has continued sort of as it was before, I guess you could say back to normal.

There is a difference in our relationship since we got married that I can’t quite put my finger on to describe properly. We already felt married before that day so why should it change anything? I know that being married is no guarantee for happiness, that’s a logical given. I wonder if the difference is that even though we both said previously we’d be there for each other through anything life presents us, now we’ve essentially said it front of our closet family and friends. To solidify the commitment, if you will. Hmm, thoughts to ponder, yes?

Whatever it is, I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Even after two years of being together (we met 3/12/2011), we still laugh, we still get silly, he still sends me flowers to work (I’ve been told by co-workers that will stop next year, I think Sugar has accepted the challenge to proving otherwise), and you know what else is so profound?

We each still get butterflies in our stomachs when we plan to meet each other for a date after work. Can there be a better feeling than that?

The Judge, Cakers, Sugar – Feb 2, 2013

Judge, Cakers, Sugar