About Me

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I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and businesswoman with a passion for life. I try to keep my priorities in life straight - Faith, Family, Friends. I love to try new and challenging things, spend time with friends and family, sew, embroider and laugh. I run a custom apparel decorating business from my home. I enjoy spending time with my grandchildren.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Softest Sound

     I wiped my hands on the kitchen towel as I hurried to answer the telephone.  I stepped over a toy truck and a pile of building blocks while I snatched the phone from the cradle as the fourth ring ended.
     “Hello” I said a bit impatient for the break from my chore of canning tomatoes.
     “Joel’s dead,” Rick, my husband, said in a voice I had never heard before.
      I dropped into the nearest chair, buried my face in my hands as the flood of grief overcame the busyness of my morning.  The conversation reverberated in my head as my young children glanced up from the toys and came to my side. 
     “What’s the matter, Mommy,” one asked.
     “Mommy’s just sad,” I said, “I will be okay.”   I gave them a hug and encouraged them to return to the front room to continue their play. I wanted to spare them from the news as long as possible.  Our nephew, the son of Rick’s youngest brother Stan, had been found lifeless in his crib that morning.  Sudden Infant Death had stolen this child from a loving family.  My feelings were raw as I made arrangements with the neighbor to care for my children.  After she arrived I rushed to my sister-in-law, Janet as she waited for her husband to return home from his trucking job. I comforted her in the only way I knew, with my arms, my presence and my tears.
     The next few days were a whirlwind of pain.  I went about my work on auto pilot, my long list of household chores that came with motherhood accomplished with a minimal effort. The guilt I felt as I snuggled my offspring while Stan and Janet mourned the loss of their only child entrapped my heart in a box.
     At the evening service at the funeral home it took all my effort to keep the tears locked behind my eyes.  I felt I would lose my composure at any given moment.  Loneliness sat beside me in a room filled to over capacity with mourners for our infant nephew.  The low murmur of the crowd, gathered for support, as they shuffled past was deafening.
     A quiet presence slipped in to the chair next to me.  Without a word my brother, Vic, reached out and gently took my hand.  His caring flowed from his soul to mine as our fingers entwined.  I felt loved as the softest sound, “I’m here for you” reached my heart.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Meeting Nancy

With Nancy Zieman of Sewing with Nancy
For more years than I actually know, I have followed the television show, Sewing with Nancy.  It is a "how-to" show on what else, but sewing.  To say I have learned a lot from this show would be a bit of an understatement.  I have a drawer filled with VHS of shows I taped in order to re-watch them when I forgot techniques she demonstrated.  With the wonder of Face Book, I was able to follow her without fear of getting the label, stalker.  So when she announced a book launch party on her page for her autobiography, Seams Unlikely, I lost no time in purchasing a ticket to attend this event.  It would take place at the set of the longest running sewing and quilting show on television at the Wisconsin Public Television station..  I marked my calender, but that was rather silly.  Of course, I wouldn't forget the date.

     Yesterday was the day.  I kept an eye on weather predictions all week.  Madison, Wisconsin, the location of the station, was a three hour trip from my home.  Of course, this winter being the winter it has been, the forecast was 80% chance of snow.  And this year that means, brace yourself for another snowstorm.  Rick, the man who agreed to put up with me through thick and thin, decided to come along and do the driving.
     "What are you going to do while I'm in the studio," I asked after his announcement that he would be joining me.
     "Probably wait with all the other husbands standing around."
     In the end, he decided to join me for the entire book launch and I was able to purchase him a ticket.
     On Friday morning we decided to leave a day ahead and book a room, rather a suite.  Because of my erratic sleeping schedule, having a separate area where I can bide my time at 2 a.m. without disturbing his sleep, is important to me.  I got a suite. Our Valentine's Day meal, rather our "on the road" meal, was a buffet at Pizza Hut.
     As we arrived and entered the building there was another husband directly behind us.
     "Well at least we know you won't be the only male in a crowd of 100 sewing frenzied women," I remarked as we found our spot.
     There were actually three husbands smiling beside their wives.  I did ask each one if they shared the same philosophy as Rick, you know, twenty minutes in a fabric store is equal to three hours of man time.  Both of them had a witty comeback.
    As we settled in we were treated to drinks and cookies.  It was pretty cool to sit and stare at the set I had felt like I was in for so many Saturday afternoons.  Nancy was introduced in a manner that embarrassed her, but she took it in stride as she had all the things in her life that brought her to where she is today.  For the next hour we all listened intently as she shared her life story in snippets.
   I always knew she was knowledgeable when it came to fabric, thread and all the wonderful things to do with them, but I didn't realize the sense of humor behind the woman.  Parts of her talk made me laugh out loud, parts of it made me choke up a bit, and parts inspired me.  What more could you ask of a speaker who has visited your home each week for over twenty years?  I loved the thought she shared, "I am a regular person like all of you.  I just have a very public job."  She came across as a very warm, humble, love and faith-filled woman who has overcome some adversities in her life.  She also shared the idea that everyone has struggles in life, but not to let it dictate who you are.
      After she spoke, each person was allowed to meet her, she signed our books and permitted photos with her.  It was a welcoming atmosphere, we were thanked numerous times for coming and treated to a wonderful luncheon to close the day.  Yup, it was a pretty incredible day and I shared it with my husband, Rick, who knows how to make a gal feel special by taking twenty-four hours to enjoy her passion with her.
    I can't wait to bury my nose in her book, Seams Unlikely.  And, oh yeah, I even won a door prize.  Sweet!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day - How sweet it wasn't.

Valentine's Day - I don't have the same expectations or fairy tale thinking that seems to go with lots of people on this day.  It's a day to shower the one we love with gifts, or so the marketing world we live in tries to tell us.
I don't need a day for my husband to send me flowers, or give me chocolate/wine.  In fact if he came with flowers I would probably accuse him of drinking.  It's just not something we got into the habit of doing from day one of our journey together, meaning dating. I got flowers for prom, our first date, only because his mother insisted.  And chocolate and wine give me migraine headaches, so I will pass on those two things as well.
So why write today?
It's a day that always brings a smile to my face.  It was special to me as a kid.  You see, it is the day my parents chose to marry in 1946.  Theirs was a romance that bloomed during World War II and they married soon after my dad was discharged from the navy.  I think they may have gone out to celebrate some years, I really don't remember.  I just knew it was their anniversary and that in itself made it special to me.  Throw in the fact that my brother was born on this day, in 1953, made it a double bonus.
And as a young mom I made my own memory on this day that will always bring a smile to my face.
Envision a harried mother with four children, 9, 7,5,3. I decided to bake a pie for Rick for Valentine's day. His favorite is pumpkin pie, to be clear, it's the only kind he likes, so I rolled out the pie crust and started on the filling.  The phone rang.
I chatted with my sister-in-law, Marilyn, as I continued to mix in ingredients and keep an eye on the kids.  I popped the pie into the oven and decided to bake a cherry pie to celebrate Washington's birthday in a few days.  As the pies baked I gathered the kids to leave for an appointment in town. Eric needed a physical and blood work to prepare for his upcoming tonsillectomy.
I peered into the oven and saw the pumpkin pie was done.  I set it out to cool, but the cherry pie needed a bit more time. "I'll shut the oven off on my way out the door and let it finish while the oven cools," I told myself.
I hurried the four children into their winter clothing, making sure each had hats, gloves and boots.  It was winter, you know, and I live in a climate that dictates how we dress on Valentine's Day.
Mission accomplished and out the door the five of us went.  The doctor's office took some time and a side trip to the hospital for blood work was finished.  Round off a trip through the grocery store and you have about five hours behind us.
It was six o'clock by the time I pulled the van into the garage and we unloaded.  Rick met me at the door.
"The smoke has all cleared," was his greeting.  "You left the oven on.  The pie is out by the back door."
I dashed to view the pie.  It was charcoal in color, even the dog wouldn't eat it.
I felt bad about ruining the cherry pie, but quipped, "At least we still have the pumpkin pie."  After our evening meal I served up the first piece for Rick.  He looked at it with a strange look in his eyes.
"What's the matter?"
"You taste it," he replied as he peeled back a layer of rubbery looking pie.
"Oh it's probably okay," I said as I grabbed the plate and my fork.
"Ugh!  that's terrible," I spit the mouthful into the napkin.  I retraced my steps in mixing the ingredients and realized I had forgotten to add the sugar as I chatted on the phone.
So much for making something sweet and thoughtful for my Valentine.