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6 posts from December 2009

Thursday, December 31, 2009

When Life Gives You Scraps - Make Quilts


Curling up with a good movie, a pillow, and a warm quilt - that is my idea of the perfect New Year's celebration with one exception - it would be perfectly perfect if, however, we had a fire roaring in our fireplace, but since we don't want to burn down our house, candles will have to do - temporarily.  I cannot wait to have our fireplace fixed.  This winter just hasn't been the same without the warmth of the fire and the crackling and the smell.  I love the smell.  I miss the smell.  I don't miss having the fire department show up in an attempt to put out 10 foot flames shooting from our chimney and raining sparks down on our roof.



Memories of 2009.  I'm still workin' on that video.  In the meantime I've been enjoying the holidays with my family and just hanging out around the house - in my jammies and reflecting on the past year and what I can do to make 2010 a better year for all of us.



It's been a really difficult year, but not so difficult that we couldn't smile, or laugh, or find fun things to do as a family now and then.  We have a beautiful home and we are all, for the most part, healthy and happy.  We've come through this past year mostly unscathed from the unemployment debacle. There have been a few blunders along the way - like the fall out from Kathleen, and nearly knocking out my teeth when I fell in the driveway from playing basketball.  What a mess that was! But we're doing well.  We're cloaked in the security of each other.



Sadly, Bob's mother passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer's.  She had faded so much that her passing was expected, although it was still painful.  What touched me was the tenderness my hubby showed in the caring of his mother to drive her home - to her final resting place - 600 miles North of us from North Carolina to Maryland.  I don't think Geneva would have had anyone else drive her home no matter how difficult it must have been on Bob knowing that his mother was in the back of the Suburban in a casket.



Thanksgiving and Christmas this year were spent quietly at home with the immediate family and that was fine with us.  We counted our blessings and prayed for a better year ahead.

I sold some paintings this year and enjoyed starting new ones.  I'm working on my largest painting to date - Maya - and I can't wait to show it to you.  36x54 of wind and sea and sailing.  One of my favorite subjects.



Tonight, we watched the movie Julie & Julia and loved every minute of it.  If you have not seen this movie, you really must get it.  It's great.  Even my mother found the strength to sit through the movie and enjoyed it.  Something that she rarely if ever is able to do.  



I still have lots to do to get ahead of myself in the New Year - I still have January mastheads to create, and stories to write.  Artists to add to Red Easel, and the newsletter to send out.  Bob and I are still trying to figure out how to start our own Rich Media company for artists and creative bloggers and we are discovering that it is a lot of work - but it might just be well worth it someday.  Hopefully something good will come of our efforts.



Thank you for stopping by my cozy little corner on the web.  I've made quite a few new friends here on Raisin Toast and I appreciate you all - especially when you comment!  At least when you comment I know that I am not just talking to myself.  What a shame that would be.



Happy New Year!  Here's a toast to you, (from my mug of hot cocoa to yours) and to a better year ahead, and that we may all find healthy resolutions to improve our lives and the world around us, and lots of scraps that we can weave together to create beautiful quilts to throw over each other's shoulders.



P.S. Don't you just love quilts?  I love to have them wrapped around me and I love making them too.  I'm even going to start off 2010 by making this beautiful quilt above called "French Roses."  As soon as I start it, I suppose I'll have to blog my way through the project - especially if I ever hope to finish it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Making the Season Brighter


It's been a rough week.  It started with a scratchy throat, then aches, chills, sweats, then my tonsils kicked in and have been giving me fits.  (Yep, I still have my tonsils).  Yesterday I thought I was starting to feel a bit better then not.  Last night I tossed and turned all night, got some hot tea and raisin toast at 3:30 in the morning, and watched the local news and weather forecast while blowing my nose and rapidly tossing tissues off the side of the bed.  I'm sure you can picture this miserable scenario in your head.  But rather than do that, why don't you just sit back and enjoy my beautiful holiday fireplace decorations.  Aren't they lovely?  Well, except that there is no real fire - yet - unless we want to burn down our house and I don't think we want to tempt fate again until our fireplace is fixed.  So, candles will have to do.  Pretty red ones at that!



Air hurts.  My bones ache.  I think I got about 2 hours sleep last night.  Big Bear slept downstairs so he wouldn't get what I've got.  At least he was sleeping - I could hear him thru the floorboards.  Somehow, though, I don't think he heard my constant coughing like I heard his snoring. 



Poor, sweet Glen.  We took him to the doctor 3 days ago with a bad cough and discovered he was on the verge of pneumonia.  He's on antibiotics seems to be feeling better.  He is now running around the house - a lot less coughing, a lot more decorating, and feeling better. 


Today is my son, Matthew's birthday, by the way.  He is 13 years old!  I can't believe my boy is a teenager. He's a great caroler too.  And Glen turned 10 on the 16th.  December birthdays abound.



Just wanted to let everyone know that I am taking some time off from blogging (maybe from 3-5 times a week to 1-3 times a week) until the first of the year, so that I can clean my home, do the mountainous laundry, finish a painting for my Big Bear for his Christmas present, finish binding a Christmas quilt I started 12 years ago but never finished, send out some last minute Christmas cards, and find some last minute gifts and stocking stuffers at Target.  But first I have to get over this cold or flu that has dragged me down this week and send a great big "Thank You" to my dear friend, Lisa, in Maryland, for this incredible collection of Christmas gifts you see under our family room tree.  She sent 4 big boxes full of clothes and gifts - we've had a hand-me-down thing goin' on for about 10 years now and let me tell ya, other than underwear, I will never have to buy my boys clothes until they're in college.

Here's hoping that everyone has a wonderful holiday!  I've got to get busy and do my house chores, turn on some Christmas music, finish a painting, and a hundred other things on my list ...



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Beth!


Sometimes you just have to embarrass your friends.  Well, maybe not, but there is one friend who laughs right along with me ... Beth.  Today is her birthday.  She is the only person I know who gets younger every year.  Can you believe she is 21,170 days old?!!!!  Or, somewhere there about.

So Beth - Happy Birthday girlfriend! I hope you have a singin' great day! 

Note: I don't know what's wrong with this ecard - sometimes it loads and sometimes it doesn't. Darn.  Oh well, if you can't see it here, you might be able to see it HERE.

 Luv, Me

Monday, December 14, 2009

Life with this Big Guy


To read the first part of this family saga - click HERE.

Just before Bob and I got married, he told his parents that he was going to make sure that every day of our life together would be an adventure.  His father waved his hand at us and said "Oh hell, you two haven't even had an argument yet, what do you know about adventure?"  I had been married before, so I knew that marriage wasn't always roses, nor would it be easy, but something inside my gut told me that he was the one.

* * * * *

I was lonely for Bob.  Here, I had promised myself that I was not, under any circumstances going to get myself involved in another relationship.  I had to focus on my studies regardless of what my hormones were telling me.  I just couldn't get him off my mind, though.

So, I bought a ticket to return to Maryland a week early and Bob was going to pick me up from the airport and we were going to go to dinner.  He was surprised and happy that I was coming home early.  During the 2 hour flight home I thought about what I wanted out of my life, and more than anything I knew that I wanted a family - a whole family - and a loving husband.  And I thought "what is love anyway?"  With numerous broken relationships in my past, I wasn't convinced I could answer that question with any degree of understanding.  I had been hurt before and I didn't want to get hurt again.

By the time the plane landed, I had made a decision.  It was a conscious decision mixed with many good emotions too.  It wasn't all love and lust is what I am trying to say, because in the case of this new man in my life, I knew him.  I felt comfortable with him.  I could be totally myself when I was with him.  Most importantly, when I was with Bob, I felt good about myself. 

That night Bob and I had dinner and talked and he asked me to marry him.  I said "yes."  Unlike any man who came before, Bob just felt "right."  I didn't have a doubt in my mind that this was what love was supposed to be - comfortable.  No fluff. 

I had grown up I suppose.  I had finally learned that love truly was something that needed to come from within.  That attraction needs to come from the heart and mind.  That although attraction on a physical level is very important, what 2 people share needs to go beyond the bedroom or it will never last.  Lust just doesn't last forever.  That puppy love of new can only go so far and then everything comes crashing down when true colors show up, when bills have to be paid, when you get sick or injured, when you're completely exhausted. 


Bob in family room

With Bob it went deeper.  When I looked at him, I saw the man I wanted to spend my life with.  He had a heart of gold.  He was thoughtful, intelligent, educated, loving.  Sure, he had his flaws, but who am I to judge?  I have quite a few flaws myself - and probably more than he does.   I had not only decided that I really did "love" Bob with all my heart, but that this time I was going to get this right.

Bob's mother was not happy.  I think she wanted to kill me.  I won't go into that.  Just suffice it to say that no woman was good enough for her son, and especially me.  I turned the other cheek.  I was looking straight at Bob and he was looking at no one but me.  We decided to get married on January 15th, 1993.  Just 6 weeks after the high school reunion, but what seemed a lifetime of "knowing."



In less than a week, Bob and I had made arrangements at our church, handmade and wrote our own wedding invitations, managed to get a friend to take the pictures, another friend to sing at the wedding, co-workers to help with the decorations, make the cake, and cook for the reception.  Bob, the doll that he is, took me to a wedding store and told me to pick the gown that I wanted.  He didn't want to see it until the wedding.  He shopped while I tried on gowns and I found a lovely ivory gown that made me feel like a princess.  I purchased a simple veil, then Bob took me to G-Street fabrics where I found some beautiful embellishments and created a beautiful veil to go with my gown by adding pearls and ribbon.  



On January 15th, 1993, at 7:30 in the evening, Bob and I married in a simple and elegant ceremony.  We had about 200 of our closest friends and family there to share in our beginning together.  



Well, Bob promised it would be an adventure, and here, 17 years later I have to agree that it has been an adventure.  Not all good.  Not all bad.  Not all warm and fuzzy and not all cold and clammy either.  We've had our ups and our downs, but together we've been riding this roller-coaster with our hands in the air screaming "yee-haw" the entire ride.



I can't imagine my life without this big guy.  He is my life.  He is the reason I get up in the morning.  He is the joy in my life.  He is the father of my children.  He has been good to my mother who has lived with us for 12 years.  He has been a brother to my brothers and a friend to my friends.  He has gone out of his way to provide us all with a good and loving home.  He is the security in my life. 



I've never known anyone who can do as much as he can.  He can do plumbing and electrical work.  He can do landscaping and irrigation.  He can build a deck, lay tile, and wire a house for wireless networks in a flash.  He cannot put in garbage disposals without cussing (so I do it).  He can bulid businesses, travel the world, make important decisions for big corporate organizations, and cook dinner too.  

Together we have laid wood floors, painted walls, caulked, laid tile, wallpapered, built fancy arched walls with columns, mowed acres and acres of grass, planted over 200 big, dang trees, purchased 3 homes, had 2 babies, added a grandson to the mix, cared for 3 elderly parents, and raised a family in a happy home.  Through the good times and the tough, it has been worth every minute. 

I think I made a good decision 17 years ago.



He's my Big Bear - my hunk of burnin' love - and a really good pillow too. (And yes, I will kiss him for a 20)

to be continued ... (for another 17 years at least)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Green Cay in December


My dear friend, Beth, as you all may know, is not only a wonderful cook and contributor here on Raisin Toast, but her real profession is that of a singer.  She sings professionally around South Florida.  Beth has such a beautiful voice.  Well, last night she made a movie about Green Cay.  She walks, I think, every morning through Green Cay.  It is her personal time and also her time to stay in shape.  I just wish I was there with her!  

In the meantime - she posted her first video on YouTube, and I wanted to post it here for you to enjoy too.  

Monday, December 07, 2009

Sarah Entertains at Queens University!


On November 21st, Sarah entertained the masses with her beautiful composition "Waterfall" with a few revisions to fit into the 4 minute time slot she had to perform.

Jazz Pianist and Composer, Claire Ritter, together with artist Takaaki Masuko from Boston on Percussion and Drums and Toni Naples on Accordion, were the master performers at this concert, playing original compositions inspired by the Outer Banks Crystal Coast to 1000 islands in Canada.

There were 9 student performers, and each performed their own composition inspired by the Spirit of Water. 

The concert took place at Queens University, in the Suzanne Little Recital Hall.  

In addition, Big Bear, Matthew, and I helped in the preparations for the concert.  Big Bear and Matthew set up the backdrop for the video inspired by water.  Big Bear helped to create the video and slide show during intermission, and I took care of the video from the back of the recital hall.  It was fun!  But not nearly as much fun as watching our little girl perform her own beautiful composition, Waterfall, to a grand applause.

I have made 2 videos, this video shares with you only Sarah's performance.  The other video, which will be posted later today to my Vimeo account, will include the entire concert for your enjoyment.

Hope you enjoyed Sarah's performance!


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