Goodbye Baba, We Love You.

A warm thank you to all my friends and readers that have sent my family and I well wishes and prayers. It has been a hard week, but today Baba passed peacefully from life. My husband, sister-in-law, and mother-in-law were all with him.

Baba as Best Man with Linc and his Groomsmen

I have spent a little time each day this week looking at photos from over the years and remembering what a blessing Baba was to my life and that of my children. I thought I would share a few of them with you. The photo above was taken at Linc and I’s wedding in June 1998. Baba was Linc’s Best Man, though I was still calling him “Bob” at that time.

Baba and J playing
Baba and J laughing
3 generations
Baba, me and Bean
Baba and Bean talking
Bean inspecting Baba’s Beard

Bob loved being a grandfather. I’m so happy I caught some of the funny and sweet moments of him with the kids when they were tiny. They don’t remember these moments, but they love the photos too.

Baba and Cindy dog

This was a photo of Bob with his dog, Cindy. She was a stray that went thru quite a tough time before she found Bob and my mother-in-law.

Building the Play-set

This photo was taken the same day as the one with Cindy. We were all in our backyard building a play-set for the kids. This was the day that Bob became Baba. My oldest named him Baba that day and Bob liked it so much that from that day onward he was Baba for his grandkids.

Funny thing is, many months later, we found out that “Baba” is the word for father or grandfather in Turkey. My mother-in-law was Nana from the moment the first baby arrived, but Bob had just been “grandpa” until then. From that point onward they were Nana & Baba and the 2 of the most important people in my children’s lives.

Thank you Baba for all the wonderful memories and all your love. We love you and will miss you.

Saying Good-bye

I’m a bit behind today, in fact I’m behind by a day from my normal blogging schedule. I just got back from the TNNA Winter Trade Show in San Diego. Walked in the door last night at 9 p.m. I’ll tell you all about TNNA and the fun stuff I did there in my Friday post.

Today is about my darling dog Tango. The last few weeks he has been going downhill fast, but he waited for me to get back from this trip. When I checked on him last night I knew he was ready to leave us, even if it was so hard to let him go.

My husband had told me on the way home from the airport that he had been unable to persuade Tango to eat anything for the past 2 days and it was getting harder and harder to get him up to walk outside for bathroom needs.

Tango came to us thru the Rocky Mountain Lab Rescue (RMLR). At that time we were fostering for RMLR. We had limited access to our home because of the road damages on our canyon caused by the historic floods in September 2013, so we hadn’t been fostering for a while at the time. But we had agreed to take him temporarily while his regular foster was out of the state for Thanksgiving.

He was a mess when we met him. He had mostly recovered from recent surgery on his knee for ACL issues and on his side where a large cancerous tumor had been removed. His hair was shaved over 1/3 of his body.  He was 6 1/2 years old by the vet’s estimate. And his RMLR name was Fango. But he was so very sweet and had the most beautiful eyes. I fell in love with him pretty much at first sight.

Beautiful Tango Boy

We were only supposed to foster him for 6 days, then he was going to go back to his first foster until a forever home was found for him. But the original fosters had a family emergency that meant they couldn’t take him back. We were happy to take over as fosters, because by that time we were reluctant to let him go.

He was so lovey and sweet, our other dog even got along with him. But we didn’t want to adopt him because he was so big. At 104 pounds that was a lot of dog in our little house. We got very few calls from approved adopters interested in him. The calls we did get were discouraged by his medical history combined with his age.

Once the winter holiday break rolled around we were all in love with him. The boys really wanted to keep him. I had bought him a nice big bed to sleep on and he was the constant companion of our youngest son. By Christmas Eve day we decided we were going to keep him for ourselves.

We filed the adoption papers with RMLR and re-named him Tango. We picked that name because he tended to “tap-dance” when ever it was dinner-time or we were giving out treats.

He was fully recovered from his surgeries by early February and he really became part of the family. He played with our other dog, Kenna, and loved to go for walks. When I was working at my desk he would come put his head in my lap for some ear rubs, then lay down beside my chair while I was at the computer.

Tango and T2 cuddle

Every day we reminded ourselves that our time with him might be limited. So we made sure to give him lots of love and hugs. When we adopted him I wasn’t sure if we would even have him a full year after everything he had been thru. Amazingly enough he was with us for over 2 years before this morning’s sad events.

We kept the boys home from school this morning and our wonderful vet, Lisa Cass, came to the house to help us say goodbye. Right now my eyes are very sore from crying but I know we gave him a happy life for the 2 years he was with us. He gave us so much love and joy. He will be missed, but we don’t regret having adopted an old dog.

Tomorrow I will be back into my daily routine, but today is about remembering one of the sweetest dogs that has been part of our family.

Thoughts on Paris and Peace

I was hoping to do a more substantial post today but, as many of you may also be, I’ve been distracted by thoughts of the violence in Paris last Friday.

I know there have been many reactions to this tragedy. Including comments about how this is just the latest in attacks against civilian targets. That much worse tragedies have occurred in Beriut, Syria and other regions of the world but have not raised the outcry that the Paris attacks have.

For me personally the Paris incident has been more painful because I see Paris as a city of peace. A place of wonderful Art, Food and History. I would not hesitate to get on a plane and visit Paris.

I can not say the same for many of the other regions of the world that have been experiencing this same sort of violence. And tragically the violence in those areas has become so commonplace that it is no longer considered “news”.

I don’t think it is right that this is the situation. The loss of any life is tragic, and these horrendous acts perpetrated by fanatics are horrific in the damage they do to all citizens of our globe.

Peace on Earth sm

So today’s post is about peace. I know how hopeless it all seems at times to wish for a world in peace, especially when the world is being torn to pieces. But we have to start with ourselves.

Reject the narrative that Muslims are all terrorists. Yes, these particular terrorists call themselves Muslims. But just like the Klu Klux Klan isn’t representative of all Christians, these terrorists are not representative of all Muslims.

Embrace the differences. I challenge you to find someone in your community that walks  a different spiritual path or comes from a different country and get to know them. Really get to know them. Chances are they live with many of the same day-to-day concerns that you do.

Look inside yourself and root out your assumptions about who people are based on the label they have been given, or the color of their skin. We all have these assumptions that are a part of our cultural up-bringing, but that doesn’t mean those assumptions are correct.

My mother has always said that “When you assume, you make an Ass out of U and me.” It’s a little rough, but a good thing to remember.

These are going to be my challenges too. I have friends in many walks of life and I hope to be open to learning and understanding with them as my teachers.

Peace to all of you.

May you have love and light in your life.

May comfort and kindness be yours and your gift to others.

Good-bye Joey

Loss is a part of Life. I understand that on an intellectual level, but accepting it on an emotional level can be a bit challenging.

This past month has been one very long lesson in the acceptance of loss and the acceptance of reality.

The night of September 11th and into the early hours of September 12th, everything changed dramatically for my beloved little town of Jamestown. The rain that had been with us all week became a torrential downpour and the steep hillside behind Joey Howlett’s house lost it’s grip. Joey’s house and Joey were lost in the resulting mudslide. Miraculously, his roommate Miles survived.

I’m not completely clear on what happened next. But the first responders (the Jamestown Volunteer Fire Department) got Miles out and realized that the whole town was in danger of flooding. Thru reverse 911 calls and knocking on doors they got everyone to safe shelter on higher ground.

The first thing I knew anything about this was the following morning. The power was out in our neighborhood, but our phone was working.  We had gotten emails and phone calls in the early hours of the morning that school was canceled due to flooding. The news was that Jamestown had been badly flooded and that there was one fatality. My youngest son was sick, so that was a bit of a distraction from my worry about who had been taken from us.

When the power finally came on late that afternoon my husband and I turned on the news. Unfortunately we couldn’t find out much more than we had already learnt from the radio earlier in the day. Then the power went out again.

The next day the phones wouldn’t work to call out of the neighborhood, but I could call my immediate neighbors and they could call us. Later that morning I got a call from one of my friends in the neighborhood. We talked about what we knew of the flooding. I told her I knew there was a fatality in Jamestown, but not who. She said she knew who, but did I really want to know. I was very worried about the answer, but told her I wanted to know. She told me it was Joey.

My heart felt like it was suddenly filled with lead. Joey and Jamestown have been linked in my mind since I moved up to this mountain community in 1997. He was one of the first people I ever met in Jamestown and his smile and laughter were as much a part of the landscape of the town as our beautiful mountains.

Joey and Ic

Joey and IbMy fondest memory of him is when he would have spaghetti dinners at the Merc right before Christmas. Joey would suddenly disappear and a few minutes later Santa Claus would arrive. This was the first Santa Claus my youngest ever met (he wasn’t too sure about the whole business) and the only Santa Claus that my oldest wasn’t afraid of.

Joey and J

The other losses are smaller in many ways for my family. But the devastation in Jamestown has been surprising in the losses newly discovered each day. Just the loss of anything remotely approaching “normal” for any of us has been a new test of our resiliency on a regular basis. The new normal will be absent Joey’s smile when it does finally come, but his memory will live on in all our hearts.

If you would like to learn more about Joey and our wonderful little town you can visit the Jamestown Connect blog. There you can see what Joey looked like when he wasn’t disguised as Santa.

Always say “I love you”

The tragic news of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings last Friday has had the same effect on me as the events of 9-11. It has been a brutal reminder that you never know when the last time you will speak with someone will be.

My heart broke when I heard of the deaths of the young children and teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary school, it made me realize how devastated I would be to lose my children.  Especially when they are so young.

There are mornings when getting the kids ready for school is a challenge in ultimate time management. Where I am rushing and hollering at them to get their shoes and coats on.  Or for whatever reason it is a morning that they don’t want to listen to me about anything and are existing only in that special world and time-sense that young children occupy.

So I have resolved that I will always tell my children that I love them before seeing them off to school everyday and tucking them into bed every night.

And I will be working very hard to be patient with them when it is a morning that they aren’t listening well.  In the long run, being late to school isn’t as important as my children being secure that their mom loves them.

Mama Maurine – My Crochet Angel

Sometimes, if you pay attention, life will give you a chance to learn and grow.  Such was the lesson of my relationship with my step-mother Maurine.  When my dad re-married I wasn’t too sure about the whole thing.  It took us a long while to find our balance with each other.  But over the years we became family, later on we even became friends.

Our friendship was founded on crochet.  When I started getting into crocheting again about 14 years ago we began to share our joy in playing with hooks and yarn.  Maurine was an avid crocheter.  She primarily made house-hold items like afghans, pillows, dishcloths and doilies.  Occasionally she would make some slippers or other small accessory type projects.

She was my “cheer-leader” as I developed  my career as a crochet designer.  She was supportive and encouraging about my efforts and celebrated each published and sold design for me.

Our last face to face visit was in March 2011, when I was thrilled to be able to give her a copy of the April 2011 issue of Crochet World that had my design “Field the Lamb” on the cover.  We had a great time looking thru the magazine at all the different patterns and she was so happy for my success.  She had me sign her copy, which made me chuckle.

Unfortunately, I had no idea that would be our last visit.  We spoke on the phone over the next months, then I was in super busy mode with spring time design work.  That September I got a call from my sister that Maurine was in the hospital and the prognosis was not good. This was the week before I was to leave for the Greensboro Knit & Crochet Show (ChainLink).  I called my father and asked him if I should cancel going on my trip, his response was that I should go, because Maurine would have wanted me to go.

My beloved step-mom passed away shortly after midnight on Tuesday, September 20, 2011.  My sister texted me that morning as I was traveling to the airport. My heart was so heavy as the plane lifted off carrying me far away from Colorado and Kansas. I was grateful that she was no longer suffering.

Maurine was afraid to fly, so she never went to one of these shows and I know she would have loved attending one. All the yarn and folks playing with it. The gorgeous crocheted and knit garments that you see everyone wearing.  For the Greensboro show I found myself seeing the show thru her eyes.

Every step and stage of my time in Greensboro went smoothly, and it seemed like Maurine was being my guardian and good fortune angel. When I met with  Carol Alexander we discussed a thread design of a crocheted angel in honor of Maurine.

Photo courtesy of Annie’s

You can find the pattern in the December 2012 issue of Crochet World, “Maurine’s Angel”.  Make an angel in memory of someone you love.

A Little Rain must Fall

Fall Color Starting to Appear

I’m sure you all know that saying, “Into every life a little rain must fall.”  It has been a very rainy and chilly couple of days here on my mountain and despite missing the warmth and light of the sun I am quite grateful to see the moisture.

Some of you may recall that last year the week following Labor Day was a bit too exciting for my family and heart-breaking for many of our community.  The Four-Mile Canyon Fire was challenging fire crews to contain it and all this was not helped by dry windy weather.  By the time the fire was fully contained 169 homes and 6000 acres of land had been burned.

So the rain is welcome, despite heralding the end of summer, as it decreases the likelihood of another wildfire any time soon. Proof that every cloud has a silver lining.

A Legend Lives On

Though Jean Leinhauser passed away this week, I feel like she is still here.

Her name is one many of us that love crocheting and knitting know well. She and Rita Weiss have been a true force in the publishing of crochet books and patterns.  I can’t really recall the first time I saw Jean’s name, it’s been a constant since I started reading crochet publications.  Her work and name are everywhere you look.

These books from my library are the two I have been reading as I remember Jean this week. One of my favorites “Crochet  Embellishments” and the most recent one I purchased “Crochet Master Class”.

There are many stories, from designers that have been in the business far longer than I, about Jean’s encouragement and her dedication to precise work.  The foundation of excellence and encouragement that she and her partner Rita Weiss have laid over the years will continue to grow and prosper in ways that they may have never foreseen or imagined.  I think that is one of the very best memorials to honor Jean.

I was never fortunate enough to spend much time with Jean, but my brief meetings with her made me smile.  Last July after the CGOA dinner and fashion show she scolded me for not entering my Ocean Waves Ruana in the Design Contest.  I promised her I would do better in 2011.  The conversation continued on a lighter note and we shared a good laugh about my gray hair.

I’m a bit sad that she won’t be there in person to see what I’ve come up with  for the design contest this year, but I know her legacy will be with all of us.