Tuesday, May 18, 2010

for lyn ~



In a way it was a 12-year goodbye. In 1983 I was getting ready to graduate high school, and no one expected a 17 year old to have a strong sense of what was happening.


Mabel & Clara

I saw it though. I probably felt it much more than anyone else. Grandma Mable was changing rapidly ~ it was the stress.  The stress of her older sister’s failing health.  The stress of clearing out her sister’s house and having the remnants of her sister’s life stored in her basement. 

Then on Good Friday her brother died unexpectedly. More stress. More behavior changes. More forgetfulness.

On Easter Sunday we went to the nursing home to visit her sister (my great aunt).  Sitting in the hallway in her wheelchair, we found her wearing someone else’s clothes. Her gaze was blank, and I wondered where she went. No one said anything. We went home for ham dinner.


Mabel, Clara, Ida, & Annie

The years continued to move quickly. Sisters died, brothers died. Still she lived alone in her house and talked each winter about waiting for spring and looked forward to working in her yard.  It had been years since she grew dahlias and mowed her lawn with an old fashioned push mower, but it was what she knew. It marked her changing seasons.

As the seasons changed, I slowly mourned the loss of grandma Mabel.  Year after year, she slipped away more.  She always knew me; although, she couldn’t remember my name.  My name, like the years, faded from her memory.

As her memory faded, mine became clearer.  I remembered Friday visits and peanut butter sandwiches with homemade apple jelly.  I remember Saturday afternoons learning to play her piano.  And I remember trimming her Christmas tree as she played the piano for us.

She would open one of her songbooks to the back where a discolored page was attached with yellowed cellophane tape.  She told us that it was a song they sang in the little church (the family church that was primarily Norwegian). She said that grandpa sang it in the choir.


”Den Himmelske Lovsang” (The Heavenly Worship)

When she passed during April 1995, it was a blessing. I had felt that I had mourned her passing during the 12 years prior.  The grandma I knew had been gone a long time.  I cherished the memory of my grandma as I continued to love the woman that had taken her place.


During the summer following her death, I was taking group piano lessons (with adults ~ I wasn’t in a room with 3rd graders). I had asked my teacher (Peg) if she would play a piece for me; a piece I hadn’t heard in years.  I soon came to class with a photocopy grandma’s song.


As Peg began to play, the breath left my lungs. I began to sob. It had been years since I heard the tune. I pictured grandma at the piano. Her hands at the keys.

Now 15 years have passed, and I am still standing behind Peg as she played grandma’s song.  I am still in grandma’s living room trimming her Christmas tree as she played for us.  And I am writing this for Lyn, so she knows that I know and many others know exactly how she is feeling. Take a deep breath, and it will be okay.


Grandma Mabel’s piano stored in my basement.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mmmm, yum ~

Had a good dinner at the Fountain Bistro which is less than a mile from my parents’ house.  It was the first outing for mom after her stroke ~ she was in great shape!  I couldn’t even see and facial changes. Her speech was fine, and she didn’t have any trouble eating.  The food was good, the service was good, and the wine was good.  Mom even made me tapioca in place of a birthday cake for dessert.  Who wants cake anyway.


Mom wrapped my gifts with the usual care and included some lily of the valley instead of a bow because the birthday card had lily of the valley – she didn’t realize that lily of the valley is the May flower.



I came home visited with the cat who was eager to get in my lap.  Too eager that is.  I was trying to walk around him and he decided to bit me on the ankle like a dog.  Yes, the cat is moody sometimes ~ he is a Siamese you know.


Most of my day was spent weaving on a tapestry sampler that I started in the Sarah Swett workshop last weekend. Although, I didn’t get much weaving done in the workshop since I was running back and forth to the hospital during the three day workshop. So I had decided that today, my birthday, was going to be my weaving day. 

I missed most of the lecture about tapestry weaving technique, but I did get to absorb positive energy from the group.

Here is my little curve sampler ~ swirling ribbon.  I can see where I need to improve in area and my selvedges got a little wonky as I was trying to hurry and get done.  But all in all, I think it is an okay little piece.  It, Sarah, and the workshop certainly inspired me to weave more!


45 ~ what an odd number?

Odd, like, how the hell did that happen?  How can one feel smarter, slower, wittier, mellower, all at once? I think the answer is 45.

My life is summed up in the birthday card doodle from my husband:

I’m weaving tapestry (or learning);

The cat is sleeping in his “cat-bowl” bed;

My dad is sitting in the hospital next to my mom laying in bed (last weekend);

And Steve is coming home after his swing shift, calling out, “I’m home".”


The only doodle I don’t want in my #46 card, is the hospital doodle.

Cat in cat bowl: Fine.

Sitting and weaving: Fine.

Steve coming in the door at 10:30pm after work: Fine.

Dad sitting next to mom’s hospital bed: NOT fine.

As for what else has been happening recently, check out the Whatcom Weavers Guild Blog (www.whatcomweavers.blogspot.com) ~ that is the only one that I’ve updated recently.

P.S. Mom is home doing well.  The cat is sleeping in his bowl and doing well.  Dad isn’t sitting around watching; he’s doing well. Steve is home and wearing his baseball cap (missing in his doodle) and doing well. I’m 45 and doing well.