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Archive for January, 2007

In Snowy New York

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007


This is a shot of the lake at my sister’s home. Here, you can see what it looked like in October when I was here for my sister-in-law’s funeral. I love these shots of the boat dock on the frozen lake:



It has been so heartwarming to be here and be part of the celebration of my brother’s life.  I don’t know if I mentioned that he just turned 65. He had begun to adjust to life without Carolyn and was making plans for some travel — even hoping to visit us in Portland. This is a man who never went far from home — his whole life.

We arrived  on Monday with barely enough time to change our clothes and attend the calling hours. They were from 7 – 9 pm. My sisters and I stood in the receiving line with my niece and nephew and their significant others. There was a steady stream of people snaking  out of the funeral home and down the snowy, freezing cold sidewalk. The line of people did not stop until almost 9 pm. At one point, most of the Dryden fire department, dressed dress blues and whites showed up to show their respects. There were neighbors, town officials, friends of Karen and Kevin, relatives, friends of mine, friends of my sisters, hunting buddies, business associates. He was a much beloved character in his hometown. We heard wonderful stories about a man who knew how to laugh, tell a great story and was bigger than life. He will be missed.

The funeral was yesterday and there was a full house, once again. The family and close friends gathered at his home for great food and more Frank stories. He would have loved that. He would not have wanted us to be maudlin and weeping — but there were plenty of tears. I am so glad that I made the trip in October and got to spend some time with him. It has made this trip easier to bear.

I have had time to do some knitting and have gotten this much done on the button-up vest I am making for Mia. This is pima cotton and wool yarn and it has a wonderful hand.


It is almost time to pack up and go to the airport. Our flight leaves at 4:30 pm. We change in Chicago and have a fairly long layover. We hopefully will arrive in Portland at 10:15 pm, just in time to fall in to bed and get back on West coast time.

My Bags are Packed

Sunday, January 28th, 2007

…and the alarm is set for 3:40 am — eek! Not much beauty sleep tonight. We have to leave really early so that we can be in New York in time to attend the calling hours for my brother. It is always a bittersweet time — reconnecting with relatives and old friends and grieving at the same time.

Today, I just did it. In between doing laundry and getting organized to leave town, I finished A Thin Place, burned a CD and filled out the entry for Sacred Threads. I had thought about doing some beading, but decided the stitching would carry the piece.


Here are a couple of close-ups of the stitching:



Tonight, we went to a short neighborhood meeting. It was our first chance to meet most of the other folks who live on our street. The purpose was to discuss the use of a beautifully restored Craftsman house owned by Reed College. It is across the street from us. Their original permit was for a residence, but they want to use if for meetings. Problem is, there is very little parking on our lane. So we are wanting to limit their use. Even though it was about business, we decided that we need to get together more often so we are planning a block party for the summer. The host does a lot of work in Vietnam. They have a collection of wonderful paintings done by a woman artist from N. Vietnam. I really loved them. They also had an exquisite hand embroidered picture. The detail was wonderful. His wife is trying to arrange a show of work by woman artists from Vietnam, here in Portland.

Time to check my list and make sure I am ready to get up and leave early in the morning. Thanks again for all of your kind words. It has meant so much to me!

Auction Update

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

First, let me say how much I appreciated all of your messages regarding the death of my brother. They were so appreciated and too numerous to answer individually. I hope you understand. We are flying to Syracuse on Monday – leaving really early in the morning. I just checked the weather.  It will be in the teens with wind chill of 0°. I bought a new hat to match my winter coat and tights to keep my legs warm. We are only staying until Wednesday afternoon — I can only take so much of the really freezing weather.

I have been very distracted and haven’t gotten much done except working on the SDA website. Today, I got a touch up of color on my hair and a trim. I was so glad that Joseph could fit me in.

Now to the auction:

Unfortunately, the winning bidder of  the two gorgeous print sets by Jill Bliss and Natalie Tweedy, never paid and never responded to our emails. We were pretty disappointed, but hope that some of you
will be excited by a second opportunity to bring home some artwork and
support Kati and her girls. We will be opening up bidding on these two
items starting this evening at 6:00 pm PST. Check the auction site for
details. The bidding will only be open for 24 hours, so go check out the art work and make a bid. Help us support the Kim family and show your appreciation for these two artists.


Thursday, January 25th, 2007

My only brother is gone. He died this afternoon from a heart attack. He was home alone. His daughter and her partner came home tonight and found him. His wife just died in September from a long battle with cancer. I am feeling so sad for his daughter, Karen, and her brother, Kevin — to have to go through this so soon again.

This is a favorite picture of him when he was growing up. I often think of him looking like this. He had lots of freckles and reddish hair and a temper to match.


Frank was smack in the middle of four sisters. I think it was a difficult place to be.

Here are three of us.


Then there were four of us:


Then, five.


Here are the five of us all grown up, taken a few years ago at a nephew’s wedding:


It has been therapeutic for me to go through old family pictures, looking for Frank, as if to prove that he was really here. Losing a sibling is different from losing a parent. Probably because you are forced to think about your own mortality.

My sister’s think he may have been ready to go because he was lonely, but I think he had a zest for life and would have preferred more years with his children and grandchild.

We will be flying to Syracuse on Sunday or Monday to join my sisters and Frank’s children to say a final good-bye to him.

The Discipline of Doing the Work

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

I have gotten myself in to the habit working on my art quilts to meet deadlines. One of my goals for the new year is to just do some work every day and try to build up a body of work worthy of entering in shows. I am working on two pieces concurrently. One is the Thin Place quilt which is getting lots of hand stitches. I got quite a bit of work done on that last night as I sat through a High Fiber Diet meeting. I am almost finished with the hand stitching and then I will do a pillowcase backing on it and finish with some machine quilting. I should finish it in a couple of days.

I am also working on the Fragments piece which is requiring a lot more thought and needs some additional elements. Yesterday, I did some fake writing on a piece of paper and scanned it. I then made a thermofax screen. I screenprinted on 3 different fabrics — a brown organza, a metallic gold organza and a commercial silk that I used as part of the background of fragments. The photo was taken on my cutting board which is the grid you see.


I also did some funky quilting on Fragments. I recently received Dijane Cevaal’s quilting motifs book. This was in her book.


Here is one of the fake handwriting pieces being auditioned on Fragments.


Today, I made coconut chocolate chip oatmeal cookies because M & M were coming by after school. My question of the day is can using whole wheat flour and oatmeal negate two cups of sugar and two sticks of butter? I sent most of them home with them.

I have also been getting a lot of work done cataloging all of my quilts for the website and writing the blurbs and measurements, etc. It is a lot of work. I am also making sure all of the photos are the right number of pixels and cropped.

I am watching the Top Chef Finale, part I. I hope that Elia wins.