Category Archives: retrospective

The Hawk, Part Five

Sometimes plans go awry, but in this case, it means an additional entry to this series.  Originally I had slated for Part Five to be released early next year, but….  But I changed my mind, and here it is, available on Smashwords in all formats.

As the end of 2015 approaches, I also want to note a few meanderings in how my life has altered; compared to years past, the writing has slowed considerably, but then previously babies and quilts weren’t considered.  Life without my dad around has changed me, pointing out how fleeting is our presence within this world, and how suddenly we climb the ladder of distinguished familial members.  Perhaps becoming a grandmother hastened that ascendance, although other than a few minor aches, I don’t feel much older.  I feel like….

Like another part of my life has begun.  But it’s not quite like releasing yet another piece of a serialized novel, although they do share one distinct trait; I have no idea when The Hawk will be completed, just like I’m clueless as to when my corporeal presence will cease.  And thankfully I’m so busy with words and fabrics and caring for adorable infants I have little time to mull over such details.  The Burrito is ten months old and walking, while Little Miss is six months and sitting like a pro.  She loves Buttercup, of course, who is very good with both babies, and extremely pleased when food falls from their high chairs into her waiting mouth.  The above shot was taken the day after Thanksgiving, at which time The Burrito was merely experimenting with steps.  Now he toddles all over, while Little Miss lunges for Buttercup, a first Christmas for both just around the corner.

As this year comes to an end, I wish to acknowledge how good is this life, how changes that might outwardly appear unfortunate season who we are becoming, whether it’s a grandmother or improv quilter or someone on the cusp of turning a year old.  Ten years ago I participated in my first NaNoWriMo, and while the words aren’t as plentiful as before, I’d like to think they have become more meaningful.  And I must release expectations as to how they will continue to flow, permitting that all things are beyond my control.  But that is fine, it truly is.  My father died this year, two grandchildren were born.  I’ve started hand-quilting, a process that while slower than using my machine, proffers more time to study the fabrics pieced together.  Maybe the output will be lessened, but the love that goes into comforters only increases.

And that is my lesson for 2015, to live in this moment as much as is feasible.  Memories are welcome, but so much is happening that I have little time to reminisce.  Which for me is good, because even though Dad is gone, he’s here in my toddling grandchildren, in the quilts, and the words.  And of course, within my heart, a muscle that performs miracles by keeping everything in working order via beats and love.  This Christmastime, I am reminded of the tender but powerful gift of love, which I always hope to relay within my novels, through quilts, and to gently instill within those little ones.  I share that love with you today, wishing a most peaceful Advent season, followed by a very happy Christmas!

A Year of Quilts

When I think back to 2014, several items stick in my mind; my father’s bout with chemotherapy, an invasion of grandchildren; minimal writing (although what I did accomplish concerned just one novel, which in itself is quite unique), the San Francisco Giants winning their third World Series in five years (lol), and road trips.  Oh, and one other fascination.

My initial efforts, way back in February, before I had any clue to a quarter-inch seam.

My initial efforts, way back in February, before I had any clue to a quarter-inch seam.

2014 was the year I fell in love with quilting.

Okay, sewing.  I fell in love with sewing, which to my mind means quilting.  All I sew are quilts, well, mostly quilts.  I’ve made a few pillowcases, amped up some burp cloths, zig-zagged the edges of fraying hand and bath towels.  But honestly, my foray into the world of sewing revolves around quilts.  This hobby hit me like a ton of bricks, but in a soft, cottony manner that eased other truths that have been drizzling like a cold, miserable storm.

Dad in March, awaiting another round of Taxotere.

Dad in March, awaiting another round of Taxotere while snuggling under his new blanket.

My father’s health is failing, and we’re not exactly sure why.  Mom is calling the doc today, to discern what Dad’s persistent and chemo-less caused nausea is all about.  Dad has MRIs this week, and I’ll be there, for support.  Next week we’ll get the results, and while the news might be less than stellar, I hope we learn why Dad is suffering.

At this point, truth is better than ignorance.

Scrappy's Big Sister from early July; I love the green strips between the rows.

Scrappy’s Big Sister from early July; I love the green strips between the rows.

As for this whole quilting gig, Dad started it.  Well, his quilt was first, to stave off the chemotherapy chills, but my eldest is the instigator, much like she was for the writing.  On the first of February, that young woman and I went to a local fabric store, and I left with a horde of fat quarters that led to a nearly all hand-sewn effort that was given to my father.  Dads are great for overlooking the flaws, of which there were many in that project.  And that quilt led to many others, which were easy to piece together in a fragmented year that saw road trips overtake time spent at my computer.  Stories were thrust to the back burner as blankets came to life, for it was less taxing on my aging brain to sew than to write.

A batik treasure for one of my girls, from October.

A batik treasure for one of my girls, from October.

But it wasn’t just that I couldn’t write; running a rotary cutter through layers of fabrics was calming.  Choosing coordinating cottons soothed, plotting patterns on the quilt wall beat trying to sort a behemoth of a novel that still teases.  I have no idea what 2015 will bring, other than a couple of babies whom I ache to hold.  More grandchildren are due, which makes me wonder just what is going to happen with my father.

Burp cloths from October; can't wait to lay one of these over my shoulder, hehehe!

Burp cloths from November; can’t wait to lay one of these over my shoulder, hehehe!

This is the joy and mystery of life; no one knows what truly lies ahead.

In the meantime, I can’t begrudge anything that occurred this year, for each and every event adds to the whole that is today, 29 December 2014.  I received a new cutting mat for Christmas, which shall facilitate baby quilts I need to make, yay!  I also have some reading to catch up on, my own books to revise, plus a couple of biographies, one about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who also played his part in my quilting adventures.  And if asked which of these initial blankets captures my heart most, I’m led back to two particular quilts sewn early in the year, when I was still a complete noob; my father’s chemo quilt, and the Mijos comforter, which Buttercup loves.  (My daughter and son-in-law like it too.)

Napping in the warm sun, oh that girl....

Napping in the warm spring sun, oh that girl….

Not only is the Mijos quilt for that cluster of children, but it was sewn during Lent, when Dietrich and his beloved Maria were much on my mind.  I could say Dietrich Bonhoeffer was another 2014 obsession, but when compared to everything else this year wrought, Bonhoeffer slips down to the bottom of this post.  But that quilt remains one of my most pleasing accomplishments.

In May, I snapped this quilt at my daughter's house; I still am awed that I managed those corner squares as precisely as I did....

In May, I snapped this quilt at my daughter’s house; I still am awed that I managed those corner squares as precisely as I did….

And of course, Buttercup agrees.  What could be better than that?  Small joys of a happily napping hound pave the way for 2015.  More on those expected grandkids soon, and hopefully some concrete answers about my dad’s health.  I won’t even attempt to speculate on all that 2015 will present.  At least I don’t have to assume the Giants will take the pennant.  I have a whole year for them to sort out another championship, bless their hearts.  I wish for you a peaceful and fulfilling 2015.  It may not happen in a manner you would expect, but that’s the wonder of life.