Tag Archives: aging

Perpetually Young at Heart

Growing up, I was the youngest of cousins on my mother’s side of the family, surrounded by elderly relatives on Dad’s side.  While I’m the eldest of five siblings, I’ve often felt in deference to those with whom I associate, other than my children’s compatriots.  Recently my husband acknowledged that amoung his co-workers, he’s now a senior staff member; he too grew up surrounded by those older than him, but no longer is that the case.  With another grandchild now in our midst, I’ve been pondering that changing of the guard, and how stealthily it has sprung into our lives.  Yes, there are days I feel my age, but in the back of my mind aren’t I still about twenty-four years old?

Hanging out with my granddaughters; Miss Em is already five weeks old!

Um, no, ha ha ha.  Recently I spent a day with my eldest and her family, a good chunk of it tucked between car seats as errands were run.  Fortunately I’m still spry enough that slipping over an infant car seat base wasn’t an issue, plus I got to chatter with both nietas; Miss Em doesn’t mind traveling on freeways, although she fussed somewhat until we got up to speed.  Little Miss had new green boots to discuss, her vocabulary becoming quite extensive.  Around those wee ones I am contentedly in my abuela-element, but here’s where time gets wonky, because I also clearly recall being my daughter’s current age, mothering my own.  That eldest will be thirty this year, jeez Louise!  And next month hubby and I will celebrate three decades of wedding bliss.  Perhaps these milestones are fueling such ponderings; how can it be possible that thirty years of my life has zoomed by for how young I still feel?

Two of my beloveds; where have the last thirty years, and five weeks, gone?

Maybe it’s all the rock ‘n roll I grew up listening to, and still enjoy, lol.  Perhaps my earliest memories of being the youngest of so many truly shaped my perspective, or was it the deference shown ingraining in me such a deep respect of my elders that it’s now hard to accept finally being one of those elders, ahem.  Not that I take myself so seriously, but other than my stepmom, my mother-in-law and my husband’s older siblings, I am the eldest within my sphere, good grief!  All those elderly relations have passed on, I’m a grandma to a few, and….  And yes physically I’m not as young as I used to be, but it’s a strange notion to embrace, this manner of aging.  Just as I seem to get my head around a particular aspect, the game alters.

Such a blessing to be an integral part of Little Miss’s life!

Miss Em’s arrival has been wondrous, also thought-provoking, not merely for the addition of another to our clan.  As a writer, I notice these changes maybe more than I would otherwise; it’s my job to observe human nature, which includes my own evolving humanity.  I’m grateful to possess such a youthful heart, and certainly the nietos are a part of that.  But it’s important for myself as well, and not only as an author; maintaining a humble and cheerful mood is necessary for my soul.  Time might be speeding past, yet a part of me lives in an alternate place where years don’t matter.  I never want to lose that ageless, ethereal sensation, not that I fear growing old, but I never wish to be separated from those who follow in my footsteps.  How many questions did I not ask my elders for worry of reprisal?  That’s just one example, but it certainly comes to mind now, as all those folks are out of my reach.  And remembering Matthew 18: 2-4 is another key; Christ noted a child-like manner is essential.  Good notions to ponder as a year of milestones continues….

All in a day’s work….

The Pacific Ocean north of Trinidad, California; “New Young” by Josh Rouse.

Spent a few days last week in Humboldt County with my hubby, Little Miss, and her mum, and the weather was glorious!  Sunny days and cool, starry nights made that brief holiday quite spectacular, not to mention sharing that beautiful area with family.  It was good to get home, for I have projects in need of attention.  There’s The Hawk, some quilts, and just the business of life.  I saw my doc this morning for a physical, and now that I’m in my fifties, it’s time for lipid tests and various other blood work that will follow (but not dog) my steps for the next couple of decades until I’m too old to be bothered.

Recently I joked about this with my neighbor, who is about ten years my senior.  There’s this window from fifty to seventy-five where we undergo pokes and prods, then it truly won’t matter.  My doctor nodded at my observations with mild eye rolling; this is his profession after all.  But it’s the truth, and for most of it I’ll gladly acquiesce, starting tonight by fasting until morning.  There’s so much I want to accomplish, best to be as fit of a fiddle as can be.

Another quilt on the wall; “Dove sei” by Neffa.

There are future family vacations, watching the nietos enter school, attending graduations, perhaps even weddings, and possibly cuddling a great-grandbaby.  There are heaps of fabrics waiting to be sliced then sewed into myriad comforters.  And there is the notion of noveling, which is how I began this day, editing the first two chapters of The Hawk: Part Thirteen.  I’d mulled over actually writing, but I had to be at the doc at half past nine, so instead I pulled fabrics from the stash for another plus quilt.

When I returned home, I put on the tunes (Neffa, Josephine, Kate Bush, Cyndi Lauper, Josh Rouse, Hollie Cook, Belle & Sebastian, Jose Gonzalez, Luna, and Kurt Vile, whose song “All in a Daze Work” is the inspiration for today’s title) and began to inspect low volume and navy prints.  I didn’t get around to lunch until nearly one p.m., then went right back to sorting fabrics.  Fifteen blocks are now arranged on the little quilt wall, pluses set aside for another fifteen, with a stack of fabrics still to be cut into large and small squares.  I’ve finished the first plus quilt, just need to gift wrap it.  I so enjoyed this pattern and look forward to making it over and over as the years pass.

A post about this quilt is forthcoming; “Teardrop” by Jose Gonzalez.

In order to do that, I need to manage my health with as much attention as I give the crafts. Fortunately I have no problems, assuming blood tests come back clear.  My husband finds this process somewhat invasive, and while I agree that it’s more micromanaged than maybe it has to be, we still have our right to say NO to this or that procedure.  Sometimes I think if I can just finish The Hawk, I’ll die happy, hehehe.  But while listening to various tunes, I didn’t feel aged, rather youthful actually.  Music makes the years slip away; I’m not as young as the grandkids, but there’s no way I’m someone’s abuela.

My daughter, granddaughter and hubby along the North Coast in Humboldt County; “Moments of Pleasure” by Kate Bush.

Well, you get what I mean.  Or I hope the vigor of life rings through this post, in that age is merely a number.  I may not be so sprightly when Little Miss and The Burrito collect their high school diplomas, but I sure better be able to applaud their efforts.  And if that’s not the case, at least I’ll have done all I can to make each day count, be it through book chapters, quilt blocks, blog posts, doctor appointments, and the most meaningful manner of sharing love with all whom I encounter.  I heartily encourage you to check out the tunes associated with each of the photos; I’ve included those by Kate Bush, Neffa, as well as “Last Minute” by Josephine.  These are the joys that make up my life; time has no bearing when love (and melodies) is involved.


It’s a Big Wide World, Midwest Version

The first leg of our trip was to see my husband’s family in the Midwest.  My sister and brother-in-law live on the shore of a lake, and for over twenty years it has been a fave holiday destination, that stretch of water similar to an ocean, although smaller, and with more distinct alterations.  While the tide doesn’t change, the water goes from calm to choppy, at times silent, often with a roar similar to waves breaking along the California coastline.  The best part of the lake is how easily accessible it is, just another part of the backyard.

Perhaps to focus only on one small section of water seems incongruous with today’s title, yet for this West Coast gal, upping sticks to the center of the country, even if for only a few days, is a major trek.  Then my world is widened by the embraces of relatives, their camaraderie and kindnesses further expanding my heart.  My sister-in-law saved little plastic animals we sent to her daughter, and now those toys are in my living room, waiting for another generation to claim their delights.  The Burrito loved playing with them, and I expect Little Miss and Grandmaster Z to find them just as fantastic.

I did no work while on holiday there, although I picked my brother-in-law’s brain for my next novel; he’s a builder and offered plenty of advice for the basis of the next tale.  I didn’t think much about The Hawk either, spending my time chasing after my grandson, walking the neighborhood with my other sister-in-law, or reveling in the peace offered by such a grand spectacle, be it dawn,


or late at night.

A good friend of my daughter’s drove from Indiana to visit; I’ve known that young lady since our days in the UK.  I chatted with my nephew, who I hadn’t seen in ages, and I observed my husband and his two sisters, how much they are alike, and their differences.  My youngest, her partner, and The Burrito were also in attendance, how blessed to have several generations together at once!  My husband’s mom turned 90 earlier this year, and it was great to see her with her great-grandson.

The Burrito also found the chickens a thrill; this place was like a wonderland for him, much as it has been for my children since they were his age.  And that’s another part of the expanse, memories being added as new family members are introduced to this magical land.  Sitting on the back deck, listening to water lapping along the shore, I found myself transported back to my first visit here in 1992; I was pregnant with my youngest, had never been west of Colorado.  Every time I return, it’s a mix of the past and present entwined, which increases the sense of how big is that moment, like my entire life has been spent near the healing waves or peaceful stillness.

Packing for the next leg of my journey, I recalled highlights; admiring stars in the night sky, taking my grandson for walks around the park, fantastic conversations with those I love.  While travel expands my sense of planetary scope, it’s time spent with my nearest and dearest to affect me the deepest.  And when these two notions are aligned, it’s as if time has no meaning, nor age, which I am finding a bit distracting, harrumph.  Crawling around the sleeping loft of the garage house, where my husband and I stayed, will be something for our children and their partners for next year.  And again my world is altered, as aging allows other traditions to emerge.

I might recapture the sense of being in my mid-twenties, but truthfully that was half my life ago.  And accepting one’s age is part of evolution too.  Years accrued elongate the horizon; perhaps age is a bigger element than I’ve ever previously noticed.  But it’s not overtly troublesome, other than making sure I don’t bump my head on a low ceiling first thing in the day.  For at night I can peer through trees, watching the sunset’s glory, the gentle hum of familiar voices announcing a perfect close to the day.

Summer holiday doesn’t get much better than that.


Fit For a Baby

Been thinking about writing this post for a while now, amid a visiting Burrito, basketball games, revisions, and a very tender right shoulder.  Not sure if the pinched nerve was from too much cross-stitching while my grandson visited, excessive weeding while ground was soggy from recent rains, or simply age.  Possibly a combination of all three, but what can an abuela do?

Doll quilt to the left, for later days....

Doll quilt to the left, for later days….

Ha ha, I can quilt!  And for the last six to eight weeks, that was my occupation, geared for one bambina due in May.  Her parents are college buddies of my eldest and son-in-law; weren’t all these young folks just cramming for finals and the like?  Um, no, that was ages ago.

Ages of time wrapped up in my memories, sewn together with thread, held in a gift bag for my daughter and her hubby to deliver in a couple of weeks.  I’m so glad my shoulder waited to act up after I’d finished the hand quilting on the baby blanket, the other three pieces quilted on my machine.  All came out well, distinctive from one another, and I even made a spare rug mug for my daughter, tiny scraps I couldn’t bear to throw away.

A mug rug for the new parents; these are one of my favourite projects, for they are easy to assemble, and use up scraps for the batting as well as the backing.

Makes for more memories, or something for Little Miss to enjoy.

I’m in a break from work at the moment, no sewing or writing as a friend is visiting, Easter just around the corner.   It’s a time of reflection upon life as a whole, life in parts, life in a modicum of pain.  Pinched nerves don’t heal overnight, not when fifty beckons.  After weeding on Tuesday afternoon, I actually fell asleep on the sofa, not something I frequently do.  But this body is changing, and there isn’t much I can do for some of those alterations.  That’s a sobering thought, but it’s also comforting, in accepting one’s parameters.

I do what I can, and move on to the next task assured of the strength waiting for me.

In April, I’ll return to The Hawk; my hope is to complete Part Ten before the end of June.  I also hope my shoulder won’t hinder that plan, of that I can only wait and see.  I’m working on a blanket for myself, large colourful improv blocks that currently brighten the quilt wall with no clear direction for their eventual use.  I don’t mind, they aren’t going anywhere.   For how busy March was/is, April might be calmer.  And that’s good.  A year ago my father was dying, and while we didn’t know the timetable, every day was a little lifetime of its own.

Yet, isn’t that how I should view this day?   Quilts and plans and cups of tea with a good friend make for a fulfilling twenty-four hours, and this day, 24 March 2016, will never be lived again.  At this time last year I had no idea what the next set of minutes would reveal for my father, myself, and the rest of our beloveds.  I felt to know so little, and who’s to say I know all that much more now?  I don’t know how the quilt on the wall is going to end up, not sure what I’m going to do with Walt and Callie in The Hawk.  After reading through the last two parts, having introduced all those folks in Karnack, Texas, what will they signify for Eric, Lynne, Sam, Renee, and the rest.  Questions and queries abound!

At least I know this; an improv baby quilt is done, whew!  I thoroughly enjoyed the hand-quilting, which meandered all over the place.  Sewing around little foxes and diamonds was somewhat tedious, but I like the overall quilted look, and it was a great way to unwind each night, often with the Golden State Warriors winning another game.  What I find intriguing is how hand-quilting didn’t mess up my shoulder, but cross-stitching seems a beast.  Some things in this life are inexplicable.

But that too is okay.  I guess I do know a little more than at this time last year, yet I like mystery.  I also find the notion of each day being a lifetime pretty interesting.  Balancing the big and little, be it stories, quilts, or people, takes an appreciation of just why I am here, doing what I do.  I don’t want to know too much, that would take the fun out of it, as well as the desire to keep writing, sewing, striving to love.  Yes, sometimes love isn’t easy.  But it is necessary, because without love we aren’t more than clanging gongs.  And in this chaotic world, love is all that keeps us afloat.  Occasionally it feels as unpleasant as my niggly shoulder, and just as uncertain; why does it hurt, how did I cause it, when will the pain disappear?

Some sun illuminates the quilt....

Some sun illuminates the quilt….

I don’t have an answer for those inquires, only the rock-solid sense of keep writing, sewing, even weeding.  Keep moving and loving, and inhale the blessings of this life-day as they come.

Birthday Books and an Improv Quilt

Recently I turned forty-nine, which was quite lovely; I spent the morning with the burrito, the afternoon with Buttercup and her folks.  My eldest is only a few weeks from motherhood, but this abuela didn’t feel aged, only pleased for adult kids who proffer babies and incredible chocolate cake with strawberries and whipped cream.

And fabrics!  I received all sorts of sewing-related pressies, but the best presents were two books about improvisational quilting, given by my husband.  That man, what a dear, especially when I send him links to said gifts.  One was on pre-order, the other a last-minute find.  The latter arrived on the day, while the former came yesterday.  And now I’m feeling like I can’t complete my WIP fast enough to slap more fabric on the quilt wall, then under the needle.

But first, let me note just a little about that WIP, and I don’t mean The Hawk, which I’m currently revising in the mornings.  I’m speaking of a quilt that ushered in my improv craziness, one that I wasn’t certain would even amount to more than a wall hanging.  Right now it’s looking to be baby-quilt sized, but the end result is still up in the air.  I’m thinking some borders, maybe.

I’m thinking all kinds of things since receiving two books which have broken open a whole new quilting world.  Yet, in reading Sherri Lynn Wood’s The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters, maybe this was how I started in the first place.  I didn’t use a ruler, I didn’t even know about a quarter-inch seam!  All I knew was slapping together fabrics that made me feel good, and voila, I had a comforter to stave off my dad’s chemo chills.

Alexandra Ledgerwood’s Improvising Tradition is my other food for thought; in this book, outlined quilts bristle with excitement, providing this newbie with necessary guidance.  I want to make her Nesting Squares Quilt using Wood’s no ruler mantra.  But first, I must complete my own take on improv quilting….

There’s awesome liberation in improv quilting; choosing a piece of fabric, laying it here, then moving it there, then turning a finished block upside down.  I even toyed with the notion of jumping right into Sherri Lynn Wood’s no rulers ploy within this quilt, but decided to continue squaring off scraps and blocks, not wishing it to be that wonky.

I also want to note that I came across improv quilting due to one of my fave sites, Film in the Fridge.  It was this quilt which caught my eye, and while it wasn’t featured in Wood’s book, I am in love with this score, called Floating Squares.  I’ve chosen some fabrics with which to get myself started, but this afternoon, as my husband and I watch the Giants and Angels, I’ll be sewing together my own little experiment.

This is the part of getting older that I love; discovering I’m still plenty young enough to acquire new skills.  I didn’t start noveling until I hit forty; my fifties tease with the idea of more quilts than sense!  Which, for me, isn’t all that hard to achieve, hee hee….