Monday, September 26, 2011

Losing my Mojo, Rosie's Garden, and the Search for Tranquility.

Buongiorno!    It has been a while and  I have missed the rhythm and satisfaction that blogging seems to afford me.  However, LIFE has been happening in all Capital Letters and Explanation Points lately.   This post is more about catching up than stitching, but what the hell...pull up a chair and pour yourself a glass of wine while I fill you in on what's been happening in my part of the world recently:   

Early August....Puma, the most special of my three cats, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bone cancer.  Dealing with a terminally ill animal necessitated a multitude of schedule changes to accommodate an unpleasantly familiar routine, which featured:

a very bad prognosis, weeping,  many  costly trips to our wonderful vet, more weeping, and  pointless efforts to keep a stiff upper lip during the weeks preceding our Sad March to the Inevitable.   We supported Puma with pain medicine, cancer medicine and lots of lap time until we knew that the hurting had gotten bigger than the happy.  

The experience ripped open the "just barely kinda sorta starting to heal" hole in my heart left by the loss of Rosie nine months ago.  The wound became very fresh again, which was a bitch.

I cried really, really hard.

[ Note: when my kids were small and clamored for stories of my youth, they particularly enjoyed the ones that ended with my saying...."I cried really, really hard."  Go figure.    Sadists, all.]

 Mid August.... was all about creating a special gift for my baby girl, who was heading off to college, coupled with pretending that Puma was not sick.  A dying cat and the youngest leaving home.


I cried really, really hard.
The bright spot...a visit from my dear friend from Arizona, Monica... for a much needed frenzy of felting and fellowship.

Late August....Happy Birthday!    My daughter was safely delivered to her dorm and a week later I turned 50.  How embarrassing..I get to have Mid Life Crisis on top of everything else......

I cried really, really hard.

Early September...A faulty  air conditioner and defective shut off switch resulted in a serious leak and substantial damage to the kitchen porch.  This is not to be confused with the ceiling that crashed into my laundry room because of an unrelated roof issue.  Sigh.  It got worse....Sweet Puma joined Rosie in the pet cemetery on September 8.

Yup...I cried really, really hard.

Unfortunately, there was a final gut punch.  Yup, a Big Ole Piece of FU Pie was dished up immediately thereafter---Trixie, my smiling Finnish Spitz, died unexpectedly two days after we lost Puma.Unfriggingbelievable!   I hadn't even put away the shovel! Trixie joined her pals in the dirt.   Say it with me, everyone....

I cried...really, really, really, REALLY hard.

WTF?????  I mean, SERIOUSLY!   I felt like I was losing my Happiness Mojo.   I was definitely not ready for the burgeoning population in my not-yet- finished Pet Cemetery.  You see, several months before Rosie died, I started to build  a little pet cemetery on my property.  I was working through the whole death thing and it was important to me that I create a special area for her.  Although I buried her in the spot I had picked, I have been unable to create the garden I had envisioned.... I simply haven't been able to "go there," emotionally.  I would look at the cold , barren spot of dirt in the yard and vow to get on it, but each time I tried, I found that I just could not do it.  The yard looked awful and I hated that I had left it incomplete.   Rosie deserved more and now I had two more little lumps in the dirt.  I was guilt ridden and disappointed in myself for not PUSHING THROUGH IT, but I cut myself some slack,  figuring that I would be ready when I was ready.

Mid September
Fifteen  hours after I buried Trixie, I left town, drained and sad, despite the fact that my husband and I were heading for a dream vacation in Italy.  The weird juxtaposition of it all was totally surreal,  but proved to be just what I needed.    We have never had an opportunity to go away for such an extended period, so it was a real treat to decompress together.    We were the lucky beneficiaries of a wonderful gift...a family vacation aboard a luxury ship, cruising the coast of Italy to celebrate the 88th birthday of my generous Mother-in-Law, Eileen.   It was a spectacular trip that was filled with the "good stuff" of family at its best---laughter, conviviality, shared history and ...most important for me at this time....a bit of healing.
Life ebbs and flows.  It is all part of the bigger cycle....children grow up to create their own version of  a happy life, treasured pets die too young, and if you are lucky...88th birthdays are celebrated with joy and delight.  In the big picture, it's all good.  I revel--truly revel--in my many blessings.  All that being said, it has been a  real bitch of a few months.  Thank goodness for the opportunity to regain perspective--I am much happier living in a state of grace---appreciative rather than anxious, laughing rather than crying.   

My Mojo is back!

I am happy to report that I spent the entire week-end working in Rosie's Garden!   I was ready to tackle it, at long last.

It felt good...kind of like I am still taking care of the sweet little gang resting there....I thought happy Rosie/Puma/Trixie thoughts and was at peace while I set about creating a pretty space for them.  I still have a way to go....some additional plantings (the flower kind, not the animal kind, I hope!), cementing in the small granite walls, and a bit of brick work...but I am not afraid of it anymore.  Rosie's Garden has become a place of Tranquility rather than Sorrow.  I'm BACK and it feels really, really good.

We are having an awesome give away featuring the hand dyed embroidery floss in Sunset, pictured in the martini glass at right.  Your name will be entered in the drawing when you leave a comment on this weeks post.  Winner will be announced next week!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Life is stitch and bead it into submission!

Life ebbs and flows...sometimes moving at a comfortable pace, sometimes careening at breakneck speed, and occasionally just flat out beating you with a stick. The last few weeks have been kind of like a Whack-a -Mole game, with me playing the role of Mole, to wit:

Pat's Litany of Woe
1. My sick chicken died;
2. My favorite cat --- the only one who doesn't pee in the house --- has bone cancer;
3.  I just turned fifty;
4. I have gained weight because of my new artisan bread diet  (more on that later) and...worst of all...
My youngest child recently left for college, leaving a very empty nest .

Seriously---who can blame me for being a bit of a hormonal mess?  

 Sigh.  I am still missing my daughter, but she is where she needs to be, doing what she needs to do to morph from pampered princess to productive citizen.  The cat was a starving stray when I happened upon her nine years ago and she has been well fed and well loved ever since.   The sick chicken died, but the rest of the flock managed to avoid the contagious disease, and as for the extra weight....what the hell...I will lose it when I am ready.  Until then, I can buy larger pants and wear heels.  Finally, while  turning 50 ain't for sissies,  I DID get lots of awesome birthday presents, including:

A killer crochet pillow made by my best gal pal, Ivy ....

A pair of antique bent wood rocking chairs that found a home in a sunny corner....the perfect spot for a cup of coffee and a quick bit of knitting before the day officially begins...and some vintage alphabet stamps in a sweet little wooden bowl....

Happy sigh.  Life is good.

I have been tackling a lot of creative projects lately, which provides an opportunity to work through the stuff I need to work through to get to my happy place.   I am never at a loss for projects on my To Do list and a plethora of creative endeavors enabled me to navigate this bittersweet period in a healthy, albeit somewhat weepy, manner.  The Big Project was a top secret one for my daughter.  She is a real homebody who was less than excited about flying the coop.  I knew that the transition from much adored family princess to the realities of dorm life would be difficult for her and I wanted to make something that would give her a hug when I wasn't around to do it in person. 

I opted for a fabric book and was tickled with the results.  I had originally planned for a few pages of carefully embellished beadwork and ribbons, but the clock was ticking, the cat got sick, and I had to modify my vision.  Instead, I went for a quick and dirty shabby chic tribute, printing photos on fabric and machine stitching them to unfinished muslin.  The book  grew to almost 30 pages and became a very therapeutic project for me.  I shared my dreams for Rachel, threw in a little advice here and there, and generally endeavored to transfer the intensity of my love for her to an inanimate creation that would provide comfort in the months to come.  A lofty goal, but judging from her reaction, I think that I did it!

In Other News

Congratulations to Stephanie Dixon who won a copy of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Frances. 

The recipes are amazing....but be warned....the book has consequences  and I now have the ass to prove it.  See Item Number 4 in my Litany of Woe as outlined above.

Carol Cypher Workshop Update
Carol Cypher is coming to Urban Stitch Studio!  She will be here to spread the bead and fiber love from November 11 - 13, 2011.  Check out all of the yummy details HERE.