Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Uncle Bill

I've been blessed in my life to have an aunt and uncle who have been like a second set of parents to me and brothers and sister. My aunt is my mother's only sibling, and she married an only child. They had one son, and then lost two more from birth defects. They never had any more children after that, and sort of adoped us. My only cousin on my mom's side of the family is more like a brother to me and in many ways I'm closer to him than to my own brothers, because we both stayed in our hometown, and the others all moved away.

An avid fly fisherman, he realized a lifelong dream and owned a cottage on one of Michigan's most famous trout streams for 30 years. His own son didn't inherit his interest in fishing, but Bill patiently taught the art of fly fishing to my youngest brother, and my own three sons, and was always as excited as they were when they made a big catch. My oldest son in particular became an avid fisherman and will drop a line in just about any body of water that might have a fish in it. He lives in Florida now, and fishes the ocean, but he fondly remembers those early mornings drifting down the AuSable waiting for a trout to hit.

Bill, has always been just a genuinely nice guy, and you can't help but like him.

In December, he had to have his left leg amputated. At the time, we thought he would spend a few weeks in rehab and be home with a prosthesis in a month or two. But the trauma of losing a leg seemed to start a decline in his mental status and his general health. Four months later, he is confused and largely unresponsive, and after several surgeries over the last few weeks to try to restore circulation to his right leg, it is beyond salvage.

To complicate matters further, his wife of 60 years was admitted to the hospital and had emergency surgery on Sunday for a bowel obstruction. She is doing well after her surgery, but has had to make some tough decisions from her hospital bed.

Today, she made the decision not to put him through any more, and to provide comfort measures only. He will be transferred to a Hospice Center tomorrow, and they will control his pain and keep him comfortable for whatever time he has left. She was taken to his room today in a wheelchair, and was able to hold his hand, and kiss him (she said he kissed her back), and tell him she loves him, and that it was time to stop. I asked him if that was okay with him. He seemed more lucid than he has been for several days, and he answered, "Yah .... yah."

Then the nurse gave him some medication for pain, and told us he will probably be pretty sedated from here on and he drifted off to sleep.

Bye, Bill. I love you.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Paddy's Day Memories

My married name is German, but my heritage is Irish on my dad's side. My maiden name was Frawley and my dad and his brothers were the 3rd generation of our branch of the Frawleys in America. They were of that Irish stock with dark, dark hair, blue eyes and fair skin. Then there was my Uncle Jimmy, red-haired and freckle-faced!! Each of the Frawley boys had at least one red-headed child. I was my Dad's, although I was never really a carrot top red like some of the others, but more of a dark auburn brown. I did have the blue/green eyes and freckles though!!

Looking back in our family tree, almost every male bore some combination of the names John, James, Edward, Patrick, Michael, Joseph or Richard. My dad was John Edward. My uncle was James Patrick. My brother is Patrick John, and so on.

St. Patricks Day was celebrated at our house with the wearin' of the green, corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread and green beer (Kool-Aid for the children). The passing of a family member was always marked with a wake, where the men would share stories of the dear departed between shots of Old Bushmill, often at the gravesite, where for each shot imbibed, one was dumped on the ground for the deceased.

Today, I will make corned beef and cabbage. Honey won't eat it. Neither will any of my kids. My daughter-in-law has never had it, and said she would like to try some. So I'll have it for my dinner, and probably lunch for the next couple of days!! But I can't let the day pass without honoring that part of my heritage. Some things you just never let go.

And later tonight, I'll call my brother Pat, who lives in South Carolina and wish him a Happy St. Paddy's Day. And an Irish Blessing to all of you.

Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fabric Finds and a WIP

Since I'm quilting on a budget these days, I've taken to scouring remnant bins whenever I'm near or in somewhere that sells fabric. Sometimes I come away empty handed. Sometimes I hit the jackpot. I've had a couple of good finds lately. I love this floral fabric. It looks kind of vintage to me. I got 3/4 yard for $2.00
This was my score for the day. Some 1/4 yard solid remnants for under $1.00 each, a little less than a quarter of the yellow polka dots for about $0.50, and the peach fabric for $1.00 a yard. I bought what was left on the bolt which came to just under 5 yards.
Then yesterday, I came across this fat quarter bundle for $8.00. It looks kind of springy, doesn't it?

This is the rag quilt I've been working on. I wasn't sure where I was going with this, and decided it needed to be a bit larger, so I'm going to add three more rows before I finish it off. I used warm and natural quilt batting between the flannel squares, and it's really very heavy. It probably would have been fine without the batting, but this way it's extra cuddly!! Pretty traditional fabrics for a baby girl. I have a hard time stepping outside that box. I'm going to have to really work on that!! I like a lot of the modern fabrics and patterns I see, but it seems like when I'm choosing fabric and design for a quilt to make, I gravitate towards traditional patterns and fabrics. I don't want to ... it just happens!!

Have a great day!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Fair Wind is Blowing

One of the ladies who works for us lives on the shore of the Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron, which is about 11 miles from us as the crow flies. We've had some warm temperatures the last few days with some healthy breezes and the ice on the lake has started to break up and blow onto shore. Her view is normally a gently sloping water view. This is what she found outside her window this morning. Fortunately, the wind died down, and as long as it stays that way, it's not likely to come any closer. Some homeowners weren't so lucky, and a few found ice pushed through their windows and piled into their house!!

I guess sometimes a water view isn't all it's cracked up to be!!

I'm still not able to upload photos of my own, but I've been working here and there on a baby flannel rag quilt that I almost have finished and my Cotton Blossoms charm quilt is coming along.

Other than that ... it's work, work, work for me. \

Friday, March 6, 2009

I'm Still Here ... Limping Along

After spending all last weekend restoring my computer, it became unstable again, so I switched over to my old computer, which we had saved as a spare. My pretty little laptop is going to have to have some warranty work done and will likely be out of service for several weeks.

My old computer is slower, and I can't upload pictures from my digital camera yet, as I have to install the software. I hope to have some time to do that this weekend.

It was another busy week with lots of work, and some time spent keeping my aunt company at the hospital while my uncle underwent some procedures. This is the uncle who had his leg amputated in December. He is in a nursing home for rehab, but he has developed some other medical issues, and his mental status has deteriorated alarmingly, and he's just not doing very well.

We're having some spring weather here, which has been a nice mood brightener. The thing about having nice spring-like weather in March here is that we're still likely to have at least one big snowstorm left before spring gets here for real! You just never know in Michigan!! I've decided to just enjoy it while it lasts!!

Some good news ... March 3 marked 2 months smoke free for me. I'm feeling really good about that, especially given the stress of the last couple of weeks. There were more than a few times when it would have been so easy to go back to it!! But we didn't ... and we got through it.

I think, since it's so pretty today, I might go out and wander around the yard with my camera today and see if I can find any signs of spring. My tulips and daffodils often poke their tips out right under the snow, so maybe I can find a little green. And I think I saw buds on our star magnolia, which usually is the first thing in the yard to bloom ... before it's even warm enough to get out in the yard and enjoy it!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

If It Weren't for Bad Luck ....

I'd have no luck at all. Isn't that how the song goes???

My computer died on Friday and we had to restore it from back-ups. Except that the back-up of my data file for my accounting program for the business was corrupt. We tried most of the weekend to save it, to no avail. Finally, running out of time, we had to get the computer set up so I could use it for work. I lost 11 months worth of finacial data for our business. Fortunately, I have the records to reconstruct it all ... but it is an enormous amount of work gathering and re-entering it all, and somehow, I have to find a way to get all that done and keep up with my regular work load.

Not having a good time here ..... sigh.