So, I misplaced my life. Actually, it’s just our family photos have been poorly cataloged and at times, swallowed whole by the former business’ photos.
It all began with a search for Babydoll’s communion. After breath-holding gasps and three external backup drives, I located a folder titled, Babydoll’s Communion. When I opened it, the folder was empty. Good Lord! I must have been distracted mid-task. Could it be? All I have is one photo from my camera.
Girlfriend was tired. Now, Girlfriend is angry.
At her communion to years ago, we opted not to have professional photography despite the cheesy commmercial photographer who had set up at the end of the school hall. Making matters worse, over the last four years, I failed as a hover mother and lack of these communion photos prove it.
In true sibling annoyance, this year Cutiepie happily found herself in the queue for the commercial cheesy photographer who had smartly relocated to the center of the school hall. Knowing there’d be no order placed, Cutiepie was content to queue and pose with her pals, while older sister Babydoll seethed with jealousy and the mistaken belief that we might relent and order professional photos for Cutiepie.
Like at Babydoll’s communion, we took our own photos and unlike Babydoll’s photos, I carefully cataloged Cutiepie’s photos. Our photos for Cutiepie were lovely and we eventually discovered the lost communion photos for Babydoll. THANK GOODNESS.
Yesterday, the professional photos arrived in a plastic bag for review and purchase. At first it would appear they gave us someone else’s photos. The child has red hair. On closer look, it is Cutiepie captured in cheesy commmercial style, complete with an incredulous overbite. Each of us took turns mocking the photo and Cutiepie was justified as she confirmed, “Yeah, we won’t be BUYING these. Doesn’t even look like me. With ginger hair. Ugh!” I’m guessing Babydoll was gracefully suppressing her delight, when she aired her shock at the flawed photo.
Needless to say, tonight we are setting up print shop in the kitchen. Each girl will have beautiful photos to fill her frames.
And, if that’s not enough and they still want professional photos, I can always tint the hair colour to red.
The TV in the dining room has mysteriously stopped receiving signal.
Recent weeks have been busy and difficult resulting in weekends without my sewing buddies. No TV and no friends, that sucks.
When sewing buddies aren't around, I indulge in the drone of nonsense TV in the background. I like nothing better than the original founding matron of reality TV of America. Who doesn't laugh while Judge Judy tells some lame dude to get a life and stop mooching off the girlfriend resembling his mother?
First, I had to convince DH that he could fix the television reception. The cables run up the wall, on the attic floor and connect with the working television in the master bedroom. Once we realised it was not the master TV, he confirmed it was definitely the cable connection in the attic. Uh oh.
Surely it has nothing to do with the 53 or 92 totes of fabric up there?
I held my breath as DH entered the attic and hearing him breathe a disappointing sigh—first of many to come--I knew this disconnect was my fault. Or rather, it was my fabric stash schlepped, stirred and (re) stored with each project. The plight to my sewing enjoyment was, itself, my sewing.
Hearing more loud grunts drifting down from the attic, I spied the now-lit indicator light on the cable box. To my relief, Judge Judy was booming from the tube before I could get my sewing machine in place.
It was my turn to sigh aloud. With a cup of steaming tea in one hand and a tasty serving of homemade tiramisu in the other, I offered my thanks to DH and made it back to my sewing table before Judge Judy could announce her decision.
The narrator was introducing the next case as DH returned his now empty dishes to the kitchen. A chatty Mary was defending herself against the claims of a former friend before Judge Judy. Working on a charity quilt together, Barbara had loaned a sewing machine to her friend only to never see it again. The quilt had been finished, charity had been served, and now, one quilter was suing another.
DH looked to me. I looked to Judge Judy. We were both in disbelief. Apparently, I'm not the only one who needs Judge Judy to get her sewing groove on.
Pictured below are two new and one old block for my email lessons. Getting caught up with the Sewing Shed.
Mothers’ Day was in early March in Ireland. Along with my annual breakfast in bed—which came at 6.a.m, and thankfully Daddy rainchecked til 7:30am—I received a love coupon from 8yo Cutiepie.
Designed and crafted in school, I was totally expecting a voucher for a foot massage or an over abundance of kisses. Boy, was I wrong.
This coupon entitles the holder to:
ONE DAY FREE OF HOMEWORK FOR YOUR CHILD
A day free of homework for my kid? Where’s MY evening without dishes or cuddles of endless hugs? Instead, Cutiepie is excused from homework? Go figure. Or wait, hold that calulation—maybe your mom has the same coupon?
Really. Some days I fail to understand school decisions.
Like when they break for two weeks Christmas holidays, yet prior to, teachers stop assigning homework for an additional two weeks because "it’s almost the holidays". Grrr.
Or, when it’s ‘golden hour’ every Friday where the kids watch movies like Cars or Toy Story. Couldn’t, at least, be an age-appropriate documentary?
Reluctantly grateful, I put the coupon to one side. Until Cutiepie solemnly inquired, “Are you ever going to use your coupon?”
I guess I’m an anomaly. Recently, I read a blogger mom complaining of homework and the expectations it put on her, the mom. Sounds like she has the same scholastic migrane, only mine's without the homework.
While at the inlaws this week, the aunts, homework helpers, were loaded down with cousins and homework at the dinner table.
I guess it’s a chore. A chore I would relish. As children of a full-time working mom who commutes, my girls get their help from someone else, usually the au pair, maybe their Dad.
Each Thursday, the eve of spelling tests, we host our own Spelling Bee. I try hard to make it all fun and play, but for me, I know they’re learning. I would jump at every chance to help with homework. In fact, I’ll take THAT coupon.
On Wednesday, Cutiepie’s test results put her second in her class. Hearing that, I scrambled for the coupon and told her not to forget it the next morning. She said, “But, I’ve already done my homework.” I told her to turn it in for the next day’s homework.
At which time, she proceeded to school me on how to use this coupon. “Really”, she says, “it’s an excuse.” Apparently she is not meant to turn it in until Friday morning when Thursday’s homework is expected. She says, seriously and with an all-knowing-slightly-cheeky grin, “you don’t USE an excuse, until something is expected of you, Mom!”
So adds another annoyance for my school’s list. Teaching my children excuses, rather than planning? Grr.
So on Thursday evening, eager to enjoy my coupon vicariously, I asked her how it felt to not do her homework. She casually said, “Oh, I did my homework today. Mammy, today’s homework was super easy. I’ll keep the coupon for when I have loads of homework!”
Ah, she’s PLANNING on how she’s gonna use her excuse. I’d like to think she learned that from me.
Two up, two down. A terrace home, two downstairs rooms and two upstairs rooms. The upstairs rooms are the main bedroom and a back room. The back room creates the memories for me. Then and still.
Then, we were newlyweds and visiting Ireland. My husband and I would travel from San Francisco to his home in Ireland. A welcome pint in a local pub and a full grill made by his mother Nodie awaited us, while, at the house, the back bedroom awaited our belongings and exhausted presence.
The years fell in and we were married and moved to Ireland, where full grills and pints would be standard occurrences. The room became a temporary home. During the night, we snuggled, though uncomfortably, as my 6'3" husband, my 1yo daughter, and me with a growing baby bump slept in the room's small double bed.
Over the years, the back room sat touched and untouched with a vacant bed, a lone nightstand and a cupboard overflowing with bedding and linen. On more than one curious occasion, I would thumb through the paper memories found inside the nightstand. Vintage photos, random notes, odd receipts and miscellaneous papers fill in my blanks of their family memory.
In 2006, as Nodie turned 70, I combined vintage photos with the present day and created a colourful memory quilt for her birthday. In the months and years to follow, I remarked quietly how the quilt sat folded safely and tidy in the back room linen cupboard. Time to time, I would steal a peak and finger the photos stitched in the quilt wishing the quilt were used and not stored.
Today, the bed is replaced with a hospital bed, the nightstand is overflowing with medication and Nodie, weak and frail, sleeps for long stretches under her memory quilt. As I sit with her one early morning, now thankful for the quilt’s defined and divine purpose, sadness fills the room. I struggle to reflect on the memories the back room holds, and in this moment, nothing can disguise her pain and our sorrow of what’s to come.
It is nearly certain that Nodie, who, for a lifetime, has made this house a home for so many of us, will die in this room. Here. In the back room belonging to us—where adult children returned, grandbabies napped, grandchildren played, and visitors like me, welcomed and comforted.
As she lay beneath her children and grandchildren, each a single deminsion stitched into the quilt, I again finger its patchwork and my mind understands. For years the quilt was kept safely stored away, while this room made memories.
Today, the quilt and its memories wrap Nodie resolutely, much like the room and its memories cloak me. For this room and this quilt memorialise a lifetime.
I have an aunt who quilts the most charming projects. She says her trick is using cream and red shades. Everything looks lovely in a cream and red palette.
So when I signed up for the quilt by email, I was seeing red and cream. Colour choices can be the biggest hurdle for me. So much so, you'd think I was colour blind. I'm not.
The project quilt is adorned with hearts on the four corners of each block. It reminded me of a deck of cards in the biggest game of life: marriage. Sweet and stunning, this quilt would make a lovely gift for newlyweds. Red is perfect for lovers. Lucky for us, we have three couples needing wedding presents.
It's a challenge planning a quilt as a wedding present. There again, it's choosing the right colour. The reason being, I like to give practical gifts, gifts that might be used. What if the wrong colours land in the wrong home? I'd like to think there's always a spare bed to be covered, but we all know that colouring is uber personal. Let's just hope their dog's already got bedding.
So I started thinking again. The words 'aunt' and 'charming' should have no part in selecting a wedding gift. Unless you're a rich aunt gifting a charming cottage to the lucky couple. Safe and comfortable might just be boring and old to hip honeymooners in modern times. This quilt has a lot of background, and at that quantity, I plan to keep cream in the mix. It is plentiful in my stash, and if I'm going to break out the purse, I'd rather buy feature fat quarters to spice up the blocks.
So this morning auditions were held. Ol' safe standby reds and greens were pushed aside. It did not take long before a teal and grey pairing stole the show. The strong hue grey was contemporary yet, tone-on tone teal roses sweetened the combo. Immediately, I knew the grey would be a great sashing framework with teal and turquoise highlights in the blocks. My stash is low, if not empty, of quantities of these colours, but what's a few pennies for the lovebirds?
The first block was completed in good time. (Below The block is on point. There are mock cream corners-this is where the hearts will appear.)
There is some time before I decide which newly married couple recieves this quilt. Logic would be chronological, first wed, first gifted. It may take a few more blocks before christening to the deserving couple. Ironically, we are on the the groom's side in each marriage, so grey is really appropriate.
Afterall, isn't red nothing more than a cliche for love?
She pressed one finger on the buzzer affixed to the wall. The room filled with an expectant pause as we waited for the muffled clang of the entrance door closing behind someone entering.
My mind reverts to San Francisco and to the door buzzers of our older Victorian apartments. The buzzer was never located in eyesight of the entrance and on the ‘morning after’s, no one wanted to vacate the couch. It became a listening chore; roomies closest to the front windows, hollered, “he’s or she’s in!” Faulty buzzers or slow visitors were our biggest enemies warranting numerous unwanted trips from the couch to the hallway.
On this night I was on South William Street in Dublin attending my first pilates class and impatiently awaiting the buzz of one latecomer after another.
Over the last four years I have become crusty, grouchy and dissatisfied. I know breathing is the key to any tenuous and stressful situation. Deep breaths. Now I’m in the City five days a week and there is a plethora of activities to breathe in. My choice had to be physical. As a returning member of Weight Watchers, I am a true resolution cliché. Literally, I chose to be physical and breathe and that led me to pilates.
Unfortunately my grouchiness didn’t evaporate at sign up. The first class was due to start at 6:15, yet we didn’t begin instruction till after 6:30.
To my dismay, the instructor was over accommodating to late comers—there were many—in an almost dismissive manner to those of us who arrived on time and sat waiting.
The gal to my right was a back injury who couldn’t move without medical intervention and the full attention of our instructor.
Needless to say, my inner grouch was in full crustiness. It only served me and no one else. Ill-served, I might add. I wanted to learn and do, yet too many interruptions held my attention hostage. The instructor would say “Inhale…” She’d go on to help someone and I was stuck inhaling, unsure what to do next. Do I hold? Do I exhale? It was frustrating.
I let it get the best and worst of me, and it quickly became a bad memory of 6th grade calisthenics.
“Inhale…raise the knee… flex the foot…lower the knee… point the foot…” Meanwhile I’m still inhaling???
“Oh, you should exhale,” she chuckles.
The whole process was timing. Was I to hold my breath between movements? If not, how do I know when to release my breath? It was torment. I stopped, and like the pained gal on my right with her limited mobility, I seized the instructor’s attention with my questions. The instructor concurred that it was confusing and after a few classes my mind and body would be in sync.
Meanwhile, my body is making much better progress with an already 4.5lb loss on Weight Watchers. I know I’m grouchy and judgemental. I spend the rest of the evening role playing in my head for a healthy distraction.
What if I was running late and needed forgiveness for interrupting class?
What if I had a bad back but was determined to do an exercise class?
How well would I serve as the pilates instructor juggling the mixed needs and levels of nine students and one annoying grouch?