Tag Archives: thankfulness

Last thoughts for 2018

For a lovely little girl, Miss Suzi Q….

Well, not the year’s FINAL musings, but probably more apt than not.  Butte County is my childhood home, I’ve had a cold for a week, but have finished two quilts that will be Christmas gifts, so maybe it’s time to blog a wee bit.

For Grandmaster Z….

The last few months have been….  Difficult springs to mind, as well as lovely.  Confusing works, as does harrowing.  Appreciative bumps alongside uncertainty, which also applies to this blog, as I truly can’t say when or if I’ll return to it.  Writing also falls under this umbrella, which is somewhat startling; might 2019 be the first year in a dozen that I don’t craft some kind of literary tale?

The Nugget, so coined by the hospital pediatrician. I thought it was perfect, as is this chap.

Perhaps.  In the meantime, here’s my latest grandchild; The Nugget was born last month healthy and relatively happy.  We’ll see him and his big Burrito brother next week.

Little Miss and Miss Em are well; Miss Em is toddling all over, looking not so small compared to her younger cousin.

And Buttercup is fine too, lol.

Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas and a healing New Year…..

The Hawk, Part Thirteen

Usually when another piece of this saga has been published, an accompanying entry is brief; it’s up and you can find it here.  But while I plan to release this tale in a formal manner, more needs to be acknowledged.  Making the conclusion available closes a large circle that I couldn’t have dreamed when first starting this book over four years ago.

I wasn’t a grandmother then, my familial role that of supporting my parents while Dad battled cancer, occasionally helping out my offspring when the need arose.  This tale started humbly, but quickly I sensed a wider scope emerging.  At the same time, my father underwent chemotherapy while quilts knocked on my door.  Writing fell by the wayside; it was difficult concentrating and sewing required less brain power.  Then my youngest became pregnant, followed by her elder sister and….

Suddenly my existence as an author seemed to have vanished on a stiff wind.  Now I wonder if not for The Hawk, might I have eschewed writing altogether?  Yet there was a story to tell, at times bigger than I thought I could tackle.  In bits and chunks I wrote, then decided to simultaneously publish what had accumulated.  That too kept me writing, although the more I fashioned, the longer this tale grew.

In the interim, babies were born, my dad passed.  Eric, Lynne, and the rest became an extension of my own clan; when not writing, I wondered when I might return to their realm, and when I was working, I pondered how blessed was my life with The Burrito, Little Miss, and Miss Em.  My father would find their antics amusing, perhaps how he views my foray into fiction.  How I see my novelistic endeavors has altered, and this story stands like a demarcation; closing my eyes, I easily recall my previous life as an author, but in taking a good look, that woman appears half formed.

Maybe that is simply indicative of life’s changes, but how often do we get a guidebook or pamphlet in the middle of such transitions?  For me, that is what The Hawk has become, a Life Echo minus the sound.  Yet melodic memories waft right over my head, laying their healing beauty within my ears as I read Eric’s laments, Lynne’s dreams, Stanford’s hesitations, Laurie’s joy, Sam’s eagerness, Renee’s hopes, Marek’s wisdom, Seth’s fears, Klaudia’s wariness.  My goodness, that’s quite a collection, but The Hawk isn’t a small novel, lol.  It’s many love stories, a few tragedies.  It’s fact and fantasy set in the 1960s and thank the Lord it’s finally finished.  The entire collection is available on Smashwords, and will be released in full on various other online retailers soon.

Hexies, a nieta, and superheroes

The Hulk vs scrap triangles….

Little Miss spent the weekend with her abuelo and me, days full of new discoveries.  At nearly three years old, my eldest grandgirl loves to play with stuffed animals, listen to stories, dig in the garden, and design with triangle scraps on the big quilt wall.  A trip to the park elicited plenty of discussion about squirrels that make Buttercup bark, plus we checked out fabric that will become a cover for her big girl blanket.

And the superheroes win….

Thankfully I remembered to prewash those prints, and will attempt to complete that project before her birthday at the end of the month.  And since she’s gone, so are the triangles that she happily laid over the wall.  She loves The Hulk, calls him the Big Green Guy.  Her duvet cover will be a mix of Marvel fabrics, with some princesses thrown in for good measure.

For good measure was sort of the theme of the weekend, as our usually quiet household became the domicile of a little girl.  She’s not a toddler anymore, inquisitive and imaginative with her own preferences, like for superheroes.  She even appreciates basketball, cheering when a bucket is made.  I’m looking forward to surprising her with this t-shirt on her birthday; it’s way too big, but could double as a nightgown until she grows into it.

Hexies are still popular in her little girl world.  Only this morning did I wonder how might unwashed fabric shrink on a prewashed t-shirt.  I’ll know soon enough, ahem.

Easier to affix than I thought, more in getting it centered correctly.

Not that I foresee myself doing much garment sewing; I don’t like patterns very well, or rather I’m bad at interpreting them.  I prefer winging it, lol, even if it means occasionally forgetting to wash fabrics until right before beginning a project.  I would have kicked myself had I constructed the cover, only then realizing what might have been a big mistake.

She liked sliding at the park.

Fortunately the only loss was a little time spent on ironing those fabrics, small potatoes in the long run.  Little Miss loved examining them after I took them from the dryer, then questioning me as I trimmed the frayed edges.  “Why that look like that Grandma?”  Hard to explain the difference between a selvage and where the fabric is cut, but I think I answered her sufficiently.

If you had asked me five years ago to predict what I’d be doing now, there’s no way I could have dreamed up this past weekend, but then isn’t that the beauty of life?  When I think to all that has occurred in the last half decade, these little slices are just as vital as the major events.  This past weekend is a huge portion of my granddaughter’s life, not that she’ll remember it, but the essence will remain; hexies and The Hulk, fabric and basketball and so many books enjoyed.  I told her that my grandparents had a huge vegetable garden, and at her age I sat amid rows of strawberries, eating to my heart’s content.  She’ll outgrow her pink hexie shirt, but I bet another will have been added to her wardrobe.  Maybe quilts aren’t the only reason I took up sewing.

An abuelo and his nieta keeping each other balanced.

I can list all the blankets I hope to make, or endlessly ponder various novel plots, but surprises proffer a necessary thrill.  I never dreamed The Hawk would be so encompassing, nor did I assume my dad’s quilt would lead to English paper piecing.  And even if I forget to prewash fabrics, the world won’t fall apart.  All part and parcel of the whole, which is far too awesome to shoehorn into my clothes dryer.

Fit for a Starship Captain (in training, of course….)

Washed and ready to be drooled on, the sure mark of a successful comforter.

Besides novels, other WIPs are wrapping up; I completed this baby quilt for Master Tiberius, and will deliver it perhaps today.  I’m very pleased for how well the quilting turned out, a mix of machine and hand sewing that took a little time to sort.

Solids and prints blend well, with a bright scrappy binding.

Occasionally I can eyeball measurements with the best of them; I used an old fashioned ruler to space the machine sewn rows along the top two thirds, then hand-quilted between those diagonal lines.

I don’t have much of this galaxy print left, but boy I had fun hand quilting around the planets.

The galaxy was quilted mostly by hand, although I did run two wavy lines along it with my machine.  If Tibby’s folks aren’t into a space theme, they can use this later on when Master Tiberius gets to crawling.  It’s wider than my usual baby quilts, as I didn’t want to sacrifice that galaxy print, it’s just too adorable.

Because I used the galaxy print’s entire width, I needed to add a long scrap to the side for the backing. Thankfully I had some of the flannel alphabet print in the scrap pile.

Without having to write, I took the time yesterday to sew up some of the remaining Southwestern placemats for my eldest, even managed to get three basted for machine quilting, perhaps a task for later today.  I would love to clear out some of these projects, mostly because others are calling my name.  In that regard, quilting and writing are no different, more plans for both than I have sense.

This quilt will be enjoyed more in autumn and winter due to its size and snuggly nature. And it’s long enough to last for many years, and starship travels, in Tibby’s future.

Yet I don’t lament those dreams, even if some (or many, let’s not kid myself) come to naught.  Maybe I spent four and a half years on one story, but heaps of quilts came to life during that time, not to mention all the grandchildren adventures, or coming to terms with my father’s death.  I still frame my life’s accomplishments along the decades; having kids in my twenties, raising them in my thirties, learning to write in my forties.  My fifties could be coined enjoying grandmotherly spoils, but so much weaves in between those ten-year spans, more of a mosaic than set boundaries can contain.

And one more shot of this rosebush. I am just in awe of how well it has bloomed, hehehe….

However it goes, a few things are certain, or relatively so; novelistic notions wind alongside yards of fabric, creating a vibrant template that satisfies my crafting nature.  As for the nietos?  Who knew I would be so blessed while still young enough to crawl around on the floor with them, ha ha!  I hope to share my creative energies as the years pass, then watch as they incorporate those passions into their lives.  Little Miss loves her hexies, and who knows?  There could be an author among them too.  Time will tell, and here it is, the beginning of May!  I want to make the most of each moment, appreciating all aspects of whatever this decade has in store.

And so comes The End….

In the front yard is my lilac bush, surrounded by roses. A fragrant spot, especially in spring.

At 3.38 p.m. PDT, I closed up my WIP, then saved it on the flash drive that sits on a desk next to the table upon which my computer lives.  The Hawk was finished in a manner much like it began, sort of innocuous, as if from a dream.

I just had to photograph this rose again; it has bloomed so beautifully. Sending love to Miss Cindy; these shots are for you my friend.

Actually, the idea for this book came to me during slumber, and within the novel it ends that way too, Lynne and Eric and….  I won’t spoil the conclusion; let me just say it’s a happy one, emerging over the last few days as though it was always meant to wrap up at the end of a month.  Six months and four years in the making, ahem, but who’s counting?

The back side of that plant, totally awesome….

Not me, not anymore.  Word counts and numbering chapters are over.  The Hawk is finito, oh my goodness!  Amid several baskets of laundry, grocery shopping, and my usual faffing about, I wrote a chapter, number 266 to be precise, a little over 3K in length.  This book started with Eric and Lynne, ends that way too.  Maybe that’s a spoiler, but I don’t care.

I’ve finished this novel, and yup, I’m over the moon.

Quickly I need to thank a few folks; Julie K. Rose has been in my proverbial writing corner for a helluva long time.  Honey, you are amazing, and I love you so!  Laura Bruno Lilly is a writing buddy, also a fellow quilter and (he)artist who connected with me through NANOWRIMO; giterdoneatlastpeace my friend.  There’s my awesome and growing family, to whom I am indebted and blessed by their love and support.  Friends from the ages have proffered their cheerleading ways, thanks more than I can say.  My husband is a saint, literally, ha ha.  He’s also my soulmate who makes this writing gig feasible, not to mention keeping me grounded.  And then there’s….

We call this rose Gracie; flanked by the peach tree to the left, a blueberry bush on the right, with a tall peach-coloured rose behind it, Gracie has to work hard to be noticed. She’s a beauty….

In this story, Christian faith starts out in the shadows, but as it has been within my life, so it builds within the fiction.  I am blessed beyond any amount of words by a Love that exceeds all levels I could dream, grace that soothes, peace that heals.  And divine inspiration that has allowed for this novel’s completion; believe me, there’s no way I could have done this on my own.  I was forty-seven when this story began, have gained, and lost, loved ones.  I’ve turned fifty, then fifty-one, and actually just celebrated another birthday, jeez Louise!  But now it’s all water under one heck of a Hawk-like bridge.

Last but not least are geraniums along the western side of the house. We have more in front, but these are worthy of a shout-out.

Before posting this entry, I want to say that regardless of how insurmountable a challenge may seem, if you feel called to it don’t despair.  As I’ve mentioned, there have been plenty of moments when I wanted to abandon this book, yet I KNEW eventually the impetus to continue would emerge.  Maybe that’s what I’ve learned from this experience, both in how long it has taken to write it, and how lengthy of a yarn I’ve spun.  There is no turning back from that to which we are called to do, merely the simple action of daily performing our duty, be it as a writer, a wife, a quilter, a mother, even an abuela.  Tomorrow I will celebrate my fifty-second year with the hubby, our daughters, the grandkids, and others so beloved.  And no small attention will be given to a novel that is now in the can.  A birthday and book party methinks, hehehe.  Oh yes, definitely time to celebrate.

Stepping Back in Time

New Year’s Eve 2013 at The Hook in Capitola, California…..

At first I titled this post Like Stepping Back in Time, then I backspaced the Like; today I totally felt as if years had melted away, in writing an entire chapter of The Hawk.  But beyond the word count, another sensation loomed, that of authorial joy, wordy pleasure, novelistic thrill.  These elements used to be commonplace when I sat at my computer.  Lately they have seemed mostly absent.

The moon in November, 2013….

But yesterday I noticed a giddy fictional exuberance that was wholly real, and it continued today, much to my blissful surprise.  It was as if I dwelled in 2015, 2014, or 2013 when I first began writing this book.  It’s turned into several sections, but started innocently enough.  At times over the last two years I had to wonder if I might ever complete it.  And while The End still eludes, my sense of purpose has returned.  Talk about one happy grandma!

Another shot of the moon, November 2013….

Ha ha, a grandma, really?  Um yeah, dude….  When I became an abuela is when the amount of  prose started to not suffer, but slightly decline.  In today’s work, I needed to fact-check some previous sections, and while perusing those paragraphs, I recalled how easily those scenes had emerged.  It was a different season in my life, one I recall fondly, but time is fleeting, this very day already well into the afternoon.  Each moment is meant for this or that, like working on quilts or housecleaning, what I did yesterday.  Occasionally it’s hard not to compare now with the past; better to embrace what is, and after today’s chapter, I am over the moon in celebrating the present.

An early Christmas present in 2013; these books were a part of my childhood, and now live at my grandson’s house. The nietos weren’t even a consideration then, but how life changes…..

Speaking of the moon, today’s photos are from autumn of 2013, when The Hawk burst into my brain, then onto a virtual document.  While my husband still treks about his fave park, I rarely drive to Capitola, too busy with grandkids, sewing, and thankfully still writing.  Ah writing, yes, such a blessing to again type with impunity.  Tomorrow I’ll be hanging out with my grandgirls, but come Thursday, perhaps this wave of paragraphical happiness will rush over me.  In the meantime, there’s a baby blanket in need of attention.  I’ll ponder Eric, Stanford, Lynne, and Laurie as I rock the needle, quilting style….

It’s a wonderful life….

I had a lovely week with my youngest and her boy, and a dog named Zelda.  Between The Burrito and a hound, I had no trouble earning my steps and sleeping well.  Now back at home I’m wrapping up the basics; laundry, a quilt binding, a novel to finish….  Well, a chapter of The Hawk was completed yesterday afternoon, and next week I plan to hit that book hard.  Another idea is brewing and I’m feeling motivated.  Spring is truly in the air.

My grandson hangs out with Zelda on a nice day.

It’s Easter week, which prompts reflection; rebirth and gratitude come together, providing me a poignantly upbeat outlook.  Recent heavy rains seem a precursor to what occurs starting today, Maundy Thursday.  I’m hoping to get to a Good Friday service tomorrow, and we’ll spend the weekend with family up north.  Easter adopts a different tenor around youngsters, and in my heart emotions are mixed, our world in such turmoil, yet balanced by Love unfathomable. That Love is also wholly accessible, part of the mystery.  How to live out that compassion is yet another project within my sphere.

Big blue quilt bound and patched. I’ll give it back to my eldest this weekend.

I pondered that yesterday, driving along a road well known for causing strife; folks cut into my lane constantly, but as I made my way down the street, mercy pounded my brain and heart.  Amid beloveds, books, and fabrics, that’s why I am here, to show compassion and to love, even to those whose skills behind a steering wheel drive me nuts, ahem.  Mulling that over made me feel small, also blessed, as well as forgiven.  And determined to share that notion with my grandchildren in all aspects.

Sisters help their mum measure a duvet for which this abuela will make a cover.

This is truly the purpose for our existences, regardless of what social media, Madison Avenue or political pundits say.  Unfettered mercy is Easter’s message, and the only judgment is what we cast upon ourselves.  How beautiful is Love given without expectation, merely hoping that such Love will be passed along to another like a quilt, a novel, a hug.  I received copious snuggles from my nieto and hija, we’re a pretty tight bunch.  This Sunday, as eggs are hunted and sweets enjoyed, I’ll embrace more of my family, especially my mom, for it was this season three years ago when Dad died.  Corporeal life is so short; Love is essential, for not only does it conquer hate, but it is the underlying reason of our beings.  We’re a forgetful species, yet Love manifests in us hope, which leads to awesome characteristics.  May your Easter week be filled with Love’s peace and Grace’s liberty, and hugs from all you hold dear.