Saturday, March 26, 2011

March Going Out Like a Lamb

It doesn't matter how long or short, how mild or savage our winters are - by the end of March, every Canadian is in full whine mode: "When will winter end?!! When will spring arrive?!!"

I thought perhaps it had arrived this week. We've almost no snow left. However, the temperatures this morning reminded me that appearances are deceiving and it's still plenty cold enough out there yet. Best to stay inside curled up to a warm computer with a hot coffee close to hand.

Bryan and the girls are up north where it truly is still winter. Trust me on this one. He's been singing sad songs ever since arriving a few days ago. The only two things both taking him there and keeping him there are the accountant and friend Mike who's on vacation and for whom he's house/pet sitting.

Hannah and Socket have grown tremendously in the past few months. They're very, very smart and keep Bryan on the go most of the time. Hannah is a pleaser, loves to play and is easy to train. Socket is more challenging, always pushing the boundaries to see how far she can take it ....

... as you can see by her attempted to pretend she didn't just do what she ought not to have done, and hiding behind the footstool.

Spring means spring cleaning - the item on today's agenda. Last weekend was more just catching up around here, but I love love love it when I get the laundry out on the line. Most times during the week it's quicker and easier to use the dryer if I'm running a load through in the evening but nothing beats hanging freshly washed clothes out in the sunshine.

Today I must tackle the sewing room. It's been in sad disarray since I returned from Alberta, due in part to the infusion of fabric, quilting supplies and works in progress inherited from Mom, a small portion shown below.

Now to be fair, the sewing room was in a big of a schmoz before I travelled east, as it's the room that between projects, is the general dumping grounds for things I'm not ready to deal with or don't exactly know what to do with other than a certainty it/they can't been removed from the house ... yet.

Here we have a fine array of mending, leftover polar fleece, random leftover Christmas cards, linens to be ironed, rainbow dyed wool top, cotton batt requiring preshrinking, and miscellaneous tools and books to be returned to their proper places. Never you mind how long some of it has been on the little bed.

On the other hand, this is the reason nothing got done in the sewing room lately.

Yes, a totally clean desk (never mind the partially eaten waffle on the corner). Many of you have never seen the top of my desk, or at least this much of it, but I have proof that it does happen at least once a year - and NO, I didn't just sweep everything off onto the floor out of range of the photo!!!

The book are done for year end and at the accountants. I decided to remove the file organizers from the desktop because Bryan has never in almost 30 years voluntarily filed anything in them anyway, just me. So the current year's files are in the drawer and a basket will soon grace one corner to accept paperwork.

Now there's room for my laptop on the desk! Like now. Cool

And while I'm in confessional mode, this is the other reason cleaning up has been shoved into a back closet.

I'm almost finished the butterfly baby quilt. It's the last quilt Mom worked on. She only had the binding partially finished (on these little quilts, it's easier to bind them before quilting), so I started working on it when I sat with her, and then in the hospice at odd moments.

You can probably see by the pins that I just have the borders to do. I'll mark them today (after cleaning, promise) and perhaps get working on that part tonight. For those who are interested, it measures 130cm by 100cm (52" by 40").

Mom always made whole-cloth baby quilts using fabric with large bright prints. The borders break up the monotony and add visual interest. These aren't classic whole-cloth quilts - the quilting is done around the print elements on the cloth.

Then again, these are quilts to be used, not hung up for display. I expect to see my baby quilts on the floor, in a crib, in the laundry basket - again! and held tightly in the hand of a sleeping child.

This quilt already has an owner, a wee one due to be born in July. There's another quilt ready to follow right behind this one, bright yellow covered in hot air balloons, for another July baby. At this rate, I'll have Mom's 24+ baby quilts done up in - oh - 6 or 8 years.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Goodbye, Mom

The past few weeks have been a blessing and a heartache.
After a brief battle with cancer, my mom died on 27 Feb shortly after her 72nd birthday, about six weeks after her diagnosis.
I was able to spend the last two weeks with her, first at home with the help of her older sister and close friends, and than at Agape Hospice in Calgary.
Mom had an aggressive cancer, primarily in her spine, that progressed at a frightening pace. Heavy painkillers and steroids gave her a good four days to celebrate our birthdays at home and provide her with a unique gift - one-on-one time with her children, grandchildren, siblings and close friends.
Even in her dying, she was caring for us and nurturing us, helping old wounds to heal and teaching her grandchildren how to die with grace and dignity. There were laughter and tears, family bonds made and renewed.
She died quietly and peacefully on Sunday night, knowing exactly where she was going and meeting it great faith and longing in her heart.
Dad, my brothers and I had time this last week to get our heads around it all, and organize a simple but meaningful celebration of life for mom. Over 400 people attended her funeral - pushing the church past its legal capacity, and I'm sure others came to the lunch afterwards who were unable to get to the service.
It was a quiet and mostly restful (for me) trip home through the mountains with Bryan and the dogs. Today has been a quiet day at home, to gather myself back together and move forward into a new life without my mother.
Bryan's health issues have reared their ugly head again with new and 'interesting' aspects. From one challenge straight into another. And nothing to do but take it head-on.
Thank you to everyone who emailed or telephoned over the past three weeks, to those who provided opportunities for me to occasionally step back from the intensity of it all and to those who attended mom's service and gathering. It means so much to know I have a strong and faithful group watching my back!