Monday, December 28, 2020

"KC9TXR signing off"

Paul [redacted]
Our brother Paul was preceded in death by his parents Paul and Deane [redacted]. Paul shared his father’s name, but he went by ‘Eddie’ while attending State Street School, Central, and Columbus East High School. 

After high school, Paul served in the military achieving the rank of Sergeant in the United States Air Force, then continued his service in the Indiana National Guard with the Air Traffic Control, while finishing his degree in Electronics Technology.  Each organization recognized his commitment with honors. 
More recently, Paul completed Vet to Vet Peer Facilitation Training, pursued a ham radio license, belonged to the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), and volunteered in his community through R.A.C.E.S. (KC9TXR signing off).  Paul often mountain-biked on rugged trails through the hills of Brown County. He was an avid reader, enjoying history and fitness books in his spare time.

Paul’s stalwartness proved uncompromising during the 2020 lockdown. Wanting to remain independent he kept his medical condition a secret from most of his family and friends. His neighbors knew and ministered to him in simple acts of service - mowing his lawn, 
washing his clothes, and speaking to him about Jesus. Paul told his family about his illness only a few days before his passing. Paul is survived by three sisters - [redacted], who are scattered across the country. Unable to be with their brother they deeply appreciate answers to prayer through a local community of angels that showed up in unexpected ways during a world-wide pandemic and by the grace of God to love their brother Paul.

"'And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward. '" 
                                                                                                               -Matthew 10:42

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Life upended...

About mid-December, I thought I'd take a week or so off from blogging, thinking I'd be back soon, and then the weekend before Christmas my world upended.  

On Thursday the 17th, I received a call telling me my brother was being taken to a Hospice facility.  We have not had contact in a long time and I had no idea he was even sick before that dreadful moment. He informed me he was diagnosed with colon cancer in June, he went through treatment, but "it didn't go well".

A master of understatement, he was single, never married, lived alone, and he had listed me as his emergency contact.

A phone call that compelled me to want to be with him, also came with the knowledge that being with him would be impossible once he was admitted into the hospice facility - due to COVID restrictions.  And it was impossible for me to get there before that door literally closed to me.

I was able to have one short phone conversation with him an hour or so later, after he'd gotten settled, but he was quickly overcome by sleep from the medications he was on.  The next day, Friday, I drove to the facility in hopes that I could visit with him - though they would only allow a "patio visit" where I would be on the outside of the window to his room.  I was there, but he had no idea.  He would not wake up.  

He never woke up.

I do not believe the Hospice nurses thought death was that imminent, but he died the next day, Saturday the 19th. 

I hope to post his obituary here soon.  A sister is writing it; she has a beautiful way with words.  For now I just want to let my blogging friends know why I am not here.  Why I have not been visiting blogs in the last couple of weeks.  That I am deeply saddened by grief.  I'm better than I was just 2 days ago when I was still utterly crushed and devastated with grief and regret.  The grief, of course, ebbs and flows.

Someday soon I'm sure I'll come back to regular blogging - maybe after New Year's, and maybe I'll even have the desire for sharing about the happy or even mundane things of life again.   I miss the camaraderie of my blogging friends.  The catching up with one another.  Lives touching other lives around the world. I am so thankful for each of you. 

For now, your prayers and kind words are greatly appreciated.    And, if you like, leave a note telling me who you told "I love you" today.  

I just told a good friend who texted today to check on me.  💗

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Making Space - week 6

Inspired this week by a post Cheryl wrote at Thinking About Home, I decided to make some changes in my china cabinet.  For a while now I've had a pretty rose-patterned china set displayed there - china that was inherited from my husband's paternal grandmother when she passed years ago.   

In the past, I've switched out the china for our wedding dishes (which is Noritake - Pleasure pattern) on a somewhat seasonal basis, but I hadn't done this in a couple of years, I'm thinking.  Anyway, Cheryl's post this week got me to thinking about a set of Currier & Ives stoneware (Old Grist Mill pattern) I brought home from my mother-in-law's this summer and I thought now would be a great time to swap out the china for these dishes.

Since my Noritake stoneware also has blue in it, I tried mixing the dishes and I found I really liked the effect.  I also have some brown (and earthy-colored) Frankoma items so I added them, as well as some other old items - some I have pictured below and I will explain what they are.

It was a lot of work unpacking the Currier & Ives dishes and packing up the china, but it feels really good to have a change of scenery for the winter, and to have the Currier & Ives handy to use.  I'm going to enjoy that as these are a design of dishes I grew up with, and even though these aren't my childhood dishes, a little reminiscing sounds good about now.

Changing out the china cabinet was also good for providing me a reason to sort through more items and decide to remove some of them from our home.  A photo of those things will come at the end of this post, but let me first share a few unique items in my china cabinet.

My mother-in-law was a collector of invalid feeders.  In fact, she belonged to a national society of invalid feeder collectors and went to invalid feeder conventions.  These items ranged from plain utilitarian objects, to hand-painted works of art.  The blue and white one below is perhaps one of the prettiest in her collection and I think it looks really nice amongst the blue dishes.   The glass candle holder on the left is one of two that I have and those are from my childhood home where they were often used for holiday dinners.


The creamer pitchers below, I believe belonged to my maternal grandmother and I remember them always being in the china cabinet in my childhood home:

Aren't they cute?!?


Moving on...  The little cast iron couple below used to belong to my Aunt Louise.  I was given her name as my middle name and everyone in the family evidently understood that I was her favorite (I came to discover when I was older).  She had no children of her own, and truth be told, she was my favorite aunt.  Though all of my aunts and uncles were just the best people ever.  Anyway...   

Aunt Louise bequeathed to me her piano, and when her things were sold at auction, I bought this little couple as I remembered admiring them when I was a little girl.  It's quite possible I'm the one who wore the paint off their faces - playing with them.    Aunt Louise would love knowing I have these and that they transport me back to wonderful times spent with her in her apartment when she was a single, working woman.  She worked in our family's doctor's office until she opened up a Christian book and gift store - which was a fascinating place to spend an afternoon I remember.  This was in the 1960's and early '70's.

It occurs to me that now would be a good time to mention that about 25 years ago I also bought this china cabinet which belonged to Aunt Louise.  An uncle (Aunt Louise's brother) didn't realize I was bidding on it, and in an effort to get the price up, he started bidding.  I looked over to see if he really wanted it, in which case I intended to stop bidding, but I saw my aunt (his wife) nudge him with her elbow and nod at me to let him know he was bidding against me and I realized it was just a mistake.  lol  I'm not sure how much more I paid than I might have otherwise, but seeing as my aunt had given me her piano, it sure didn't bother me any.  


Next up...  While it isn't old (like most everything else in the china cabinet), I've enjoyed using this sweet cake stand I probably found a decade or so ago at TJ Max:

And I like to serve large salads in the cut glass bowls that sit atop the stand.  These bowls came from my childhood home, and I'm pretty sure they originally belonged to my maternal grandmother.  She died when I was a little thing - not quite 5 years old.


And finally, below is a plate that has an image of the church my husband and I were married in 40 years ago, and the little bride and groom figurine sat atop my MIL's and FIL's wedding cake in 1952.

We were going to use this figure as our cake topper in 1980, but because of miscommunications, the little couple didn't make to the church (on time, or otherwise).  Fortunately, the florist had delivered extra flowers, so we made quick work of putting some fresh flowers where the figurine was supposed to go.  It was a happy solution for our wedding day, but I was thrilled to have found these little people amongst my MIL's things and be able to bring them home.  They've been in a box for the past 40 years (and many years before that).  I am so happy to display them, and don't they just look perfect with this plate?

Even though the groom has a slightly misshapen head and neither look too happy, I think they are wonderful.


And that, friends, is a quick tour of the interesting things in my china cabinet as it looks today.  

Less interesting is a collection of items (pictured below) that I am sending out into the world.  The painted yellow pitcher has sat atop my refrigerator for years.  I think I bought it at a Goodwill store, so it will go back and maybe someone else will enjoy finding it again.  Or maybe it's not even something anyone would want anymore.  I don't know.  I'm just happy to let it go along with a few serving dishes, a lonely candle holder, a solitary punch cup, a glass dome that has no base to sit on, a creamer and sugar bowl that has lost its lid, and a stack of dessert plates we do not need.

Counting the stack of plates as one item, that's 10 more things leaving.

Week 6:  128 things gone

Sunday, December 6, 2020

The countdown to Christmas has begun...

I have to laugh a bit now at my grand idea of a daily "Advent Calendar" of projects.  I realized before I started I wasn't going to be able to do a project a day, but this past week I only managed to open two bags in five days.  That, of course, is okay, and now I think I have a more realistic idea of what I might actually accomplish this month.  And how long after Christmas I may end up enjoying my little "surprise" projects.  😉   

The first picture below is just to give an idea of what I pull out of a bag - I won't be taking a picture every day of this since it's really not that interesting (except to maybe see what I did as I was packaging things up).  Very simple, as you can see:

The yarn is Curio (sold by Knit Picks) in the colorway, Jalapeno.
The book wasn't in the bag, it's just the source 
of any doily patterns I may work this month.

And below is what was wrought with a teeny tiny hook 
and that pretty green thread:  

Doily #23
Realizing after posting how much the design looks like 
Sutton Hoo helmet.  Very cool.

Truth be told, it was not my favorite doily of the ones I've done so far in this book.  It wasn't exactly a difficult pattern, but I had trouble trusting the instructions.  How many times do I have to tell myself that this designer is brief in her instructions, but when she says to do a thing, I need to do it - not second guess her.

Honestly, I could have made this doily over at least two times in the length of time it took me to hesitatingly crochet what I wasn't sure of, then frog back some because I thought I'd made a mistake, then I'd re-read the instructions, scratch my head at how this was going to work out, and then FINALLY just do what the designer said to do.  Seriously, like...  nearly every round this would happen.  There was also a fair amount of my mis-reading or misinterpreting the instructions.  It happens.  And those picots!  The picots just didn't want to behave.  Still don't after blocking.  Sigh.  I'm not a fan of making fiddly picots, but the very least they could do for all the trouble they are is to behave.  Stick out straight.  Look purty.

Anyway, I'm glad #23 is done.  I'm not even giving it a better name as I want to remember to NOT mess with this one again.

And Advent package #2 was kitchen cotton, which meant I was to knit (or crochet, if I like) a dishcloth (or, in this case 2 dishcloths).  You may or may not be able to tell I worked two different stitch patterns on the cloths below.  I'd like to say it was done on purpose, that I had a plan, but the truth is, without thinking, I started making the one on the right in a stitch pattern that really does no favors to variegated yarn.  I remembered this about half-way in.  Oh well...  no way was I going to frog a perfectly useable dishcloth.  I had enough yarn (and some from another ball) left to make a second cloth, so I have the opportunity here to be able to show which stitch pattern works better with variegated colors.  To be clear, it's not like I think the dishcloth on the left is exactly amazing, but something about this stitch pattern makes the colors a little less unruly.  After Marsha (Lefty Crafter blog) introduced the pattern to me, the Double-Woven Stitch, used in the Darrell Waltrip Dishcloth pattern has been my go-to pattern for working with variegated kitchen cotton.


I also got to spend some time on my Linens and Threads sampler.  Can you tell the difference?

Two weeks ago:


I mentioned before that this is a large design in this sampler.  What you see above is maybe one-third to half-way finished?  At this rate, I might finish it before Christmas.  We'll see, I guess.

It's hard to believe there are less than three weeks until Christmas!  In a year where time has often felt meaningless, it's hard to believe it's about to just evaporate away in a few short weeks now.  I can't quite decide if I'm practically giddy at the thought of saying goodbye to 2020 or sad to be grieving such a dreadful year. 

It's my choice, so I'm going to choose to be glad.  I think.  Remind me if I forget.  Can't change what is behind, we can only hope for the future.

Are you finding time to do crafty things in these weeks before Christmas?  Or any of the things that bring you joy in this season?

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Making space - week 5

Continuing on my decluttering mission, I headed into the deep recesses of the china cabinet.  Doing just a cursory search through there, I was able to easily make the decision to get rid of 4 old cloth napkins that had been used once upon a time for bread basket liners, but time has caused the stains (butter, no doubt) to be too obvious to use anymore.  Also leaving are 8 different votive holders I haven't used in years, 4 old tapers, a pottery creamer that I don't care for, a pottery oil lamp that is pretty, but I just can't find a place where it looks good (and our battery-operated lanterns are much more practical if we have a power outage), a little souvenir toothpick holder, and two Christmas candle holders that are kind of awkward to use - so they were usually passed over.

The fake flower/greenery declutter is a result of getting a new land-line phone system and having to move a small flower arrangement that hid the cord on the old phone.  Realizing I was glad for an excuse to get rid of those, I looked in a couple of drawers where I had tucked some other fake greenery and decided it was time for more of it to go.  I found 7 separate pieces I was happy to part with.  Don't worry...  I have more.  I'm in no danger of finding myself needing fake greenery or flowers and being up a creek without.  

Wow.  The number of things outta here are accumulating fast.  

Week 5:  118 things gone


If you'd like to join in a low-key decluttering activity that fits with the pace of life, see my post explaining this Making Space endeavor.  Check out the bottom of same link for graphics you can feel free to use.