Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mo' Betta: Color me orange.

Since I can't "pin" this recipe to my "yummy" board, I will post it here in the attempt to get this delicious recipe permanently stored somewhere I can easily find it. Yummo and vegan!

Mo' Betta: Color me orange.: Whole Wheat Orange Cake may not sound as tempting as, let's say, Cookie Dough Brownies , but keep reading! It's good, I promise!! Don't let...

Friday, November 18, 2011

procrastination is my middle name

As long as I can remember, I rarely completed any project whether for school (homework), holiday shopping or crafts for gift giving ahead of the time they're due. This same trait was also evident in my children and was a source of constant nagging on my part. Do as I say, not as I do. And I do, do.

The holidays are a mere 5 weeks away and I have yet to finish the 2 Christmas wall hangings that I have started for Christmas gift. They are flimsies right now, but I've turned my attention elsewhere for the time being. Sometimes I think I have a bit of ADD. I should be finishing the wall hangings, but quite frankly, I am not head over heals in love with them right now. I have developed a resentment towards all the satin stitching and want the little menahunes to come in the middle of the night to finish them for me, and while they're here, they can do the dishes, vacuuming and laundry, too.

For some reason or another, I lack the discipline to stay on track when I actually sit down to work on a project. I sew for a an hour or so, get up and watch some tv, do a chore, relax for a while then guilt myself into returning to the project. I can be very hard on myself with the conversations I have with the committee that resides in my head, but still haven't been bothered enough to change. I really thought I would be better about completing things this year based on last year's dash to the finish line at the last minute. Talk about stress! It was pure adrenalin at the end and a lot of late night sewing.

My attention to these wall hangings have been waylaid by the 2 twin size quilts I am making for my kids. I don't have any expectations that they will be getting the finished product by Christmas morning, but I'm giving it my best shot anyway. I will run myself ragged towards the end and still find excuses to procrastinate at every opportunity. Add to my "normal" routine the fact that my beautiful daughter will be home from school for about 10 days over the winter break and I really won't be getting much done, especially her quilt, which I want to be a surprise.

Maybe next year I'll change my middle name to Alacrity (def: cheerful readiness, promptness, or willingness).

Hah! Fat chance.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dear John, the letter

Well after four years, I need to get some things off my chest.........

Dear John,

It's been a little over four years since your death. Life has not been the same since; good and bad. I can't believe the four years have gone by so quickly. To say that life is speeding up the older I get is truly an understatement. I think I have a harder time accepting that my kids are now 26 and 22. I don't feel like I'm old enough to have children as old as I feel.

The good in my life is measured by the strength of my Al-Anon program, my newly acquired spiritual program and the friends I've made in the years since your death. I am so grateful for all the riches life bestows on me and wish you could be around (healthy) to share it with me. I never expected to be in my early 50's single, again. It's not what I wanted when you died but today I am enjoying my aloneness; maybe a bit too much.

I continue to go to my Al-Anon meetings and working with my sponsor (who told me to write this letter). Even though you are no longer a part of my living life, having lived with you and your disease has affected me, permanently. I will never be able to drive down the street and see a fire engine or ambulance again without thinking about you and all the times I had to call 911 to come to the house. I have undergone EMDR for treatment of PTSD. Finding you dead was nothing short of shocking to my system. That episode alone has left a mark on my life that may fade with time, but like so much else, will never completely go away. The EMDR work has helped a lot, but it's still there. Damnit. Why couldn't you just stop drinking? Why didn't you want to stop? Why didn't you want to be with me? Why did you choose alcohol over me? Why???????????

I've started going to church again. Not the Catholic church that I was raised in, but a more kind, spiritual place. I really like going there and hope to get more involved with the church to meet new people and make new attachments. It was suggested that I really have a strong spiritual program before dating again. I have this bad habit of attracting all the wrong kind of man and selling myself down the river for the man du jour. I don't want to repeat my mistakes. God knows there are plenty of opportunities everyday to make new mistakes - I don't need to keep making the same ones over and over and over again.

I bought a house two years ago. All by myself. I live alone now - Kaitie is in Irvine going to school and Hank is living and working in LA. I am so immensely proud of both of them. They have turned out to be the brightest and most joyful things in my life. I just can't wait to have grand babies. I want to see and touch all the innocence that babies bring into this world. I need to feel unconditionally loved and babies have the ability to do that.

My time since your death has been the longest I've not been with a man since I was first married in 1982. The thought of being trusting and intimate with someone scares the crap out of me. I have been so damaged and affected by our relationship that I am petrified to start dating again. I am fearful of being lied to like you did on a regular basis. I am fearful of being open and vulnerable like I was with you and have it used against me. I am fearful of being intimate with someone and have the intimacy abused and twisted up. Our relationship did a doozey on me.

I am really trying to stick with the "I" statements here. It would be so easy to blame you for all the failures and ills of our relationship. However, I, too, am culpable when it comes to some of the wrongs in our marriage even with your drinking playing such a huge role. I suffered from jealousy and insecurities that I carried around like a beaten up suitcase from one relationship to another, ours included. I'd like to think I left that tattered suitcase on the steps of our house as I closed the door for the last time. The truth is I probably still have some remnants of these defects and won't know about them until (If) I ever have another relationship. I was not the person I want to be. I could beat myself up a lot for all the things I did. I'm ashamed of my behavior and actions to and against you. I can't change the past. I am sorry, truly, for the way I treated you on many occasions; for the things I said in anger and resentment. I am sorry that things just didn't work out the way I had dreamed they would.

My need to control people and things didn't help our marriage, either. I had this need to be able to control everything from how the laundry was done to how the pot was stirred on the stove. Pretty damn sick, I was. I think I've made some improvement around this character defect, too. At least where the kids are concerned, I am not that crazed, high strung person they knew growing up.

I know you suffered from a horrible, debilitating disease. I know life on this earth was hard for you. I hope and pray you're in a better place now. I know I am. I am at peace. I am grateful. I am happy. I am me.

Rest in Peace

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dear John

It has been 4 years since my husband died from the affects of chronic alcoholism. Everytime I think I'm making progress, I am reminded that I still have a lot of work to do around how my life has changed for having been exposed to his disease.

My "A" (the other anonymous program) sponsor told me that I HAVE to write a letter to my husband telling him the things that have happened in the past 4 years. She doesn't normally require her sponsees to do a "must" thing, but she's making an exception for me. Really?

This letter will be a work in progress, posted here. My sponsor thinks there will be many chapters to my letter and I think she's right.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Wip it, wip it good. No, I can spell - it's wip for work in process. I have many such projects in my craft closet. Some are closer to completion than others and if the road to hell was paved with good intentions or wips - I'm a shoe-in.

This quilt is for my sister. It is now in the almost ready to be basted and quilted stage. Then I have a bajillion more to make for her....she's my best non-paying customer - as are all my quilt recipients. After cutting the sewn together 5" squares and cutting them into pinwheels, I was left with 2" squares of all the fabrics in the big quilt. I assembled the tiny 2" squares into a mini wallhanging version of the before quilt. I used a fusible grided interfacing and ironed those little suckers to it and took the easy way out of assembling this pretty little thing. That gridded interfacing was a god-send. And fast, too.

I know my sister will love these beauties, whenever she gets them, even if it's not until next year!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

attitude of gratitude

Tomorrow. Today I have another gripe. This seems to be a common theme in my life right now and I need to do some serious work around why things are bothering me so much lately.

I am in the process of making some Christmas wallhangings, one that needs (needed) to be done by this weekend. I don't think that's going to happen, but that's another story in itself. My gripe is the pattern I'm using and the fabric requirements per the instructions. I am making a snowman from one of Patrick Lose's books. It's a cute pattern and fits into the theme of "chillax" for the event it is for. I plan on making a total of 4 of these wallhangings and planned my purchase of fabric accordingly. I used the book's directions for fabric requirements and purchased 4 times the amount listed. Mistake. Big mistake. I have enough orange fabric to make 50 quilts. Granted, something should have clicked in my brain that says something like "how could you possibly need 1/4 yard of fabric for a carrot shaped nose?" But, the directions stated 1/4 yard and I'm a good follower and purchased 1 yard. I think I used a sum total of 4 inches by the width of the fabric for the 4 quilts. That means that I have 32" of leftover orange fabric. This same situation has carried over into all the fabrics the quilt calls for. Too much leftover fabric. I could've purchased fabric I would love to use in another quilt and not all this leftover stuff.

Note to pattern designers. Please, please, please be realistic when it comes to how much fabric is required to make a quilt that you designed. The orange carrot needed at most a fat quarter. And I could've made 4 carrtos from that fat quarter.

Nuff said.

Friday, October 7, 2011

look into my father's eyes

To say that I didn't have a good relationship with my father would (in my opinion) be an understatement. For as long as I can remember, I had a disconnected feeling about him. I could recall stories where I felt so detached from him as a father that I don't think it was all in my head. As early as 8 years old I knew there was "something" about him that didn't sit right with me. When I was in my early teens I made a vow that I wouldn't kiss any boys until I was able to kiss my father goodnight as I saw my sister do (without reciprocity). That lasted about a week. It felt weird, unnatural to force myself to do something that felt so not right.

My father held Bachelor degrees in Psychology and Social Work. My father couldn't display any love or affection to his children. My father died when I was 19 years old. I never got to ask the questions; never got to hear the answers.

My father was the photographer in my family and because of that, there aren't many pictures of him and somehow, I've managed to have all (or most of them). There are some deep psychological reasons for this, I suppose. One very good picture of my father, a closeup, had been damaged by water or something that left spots all over the picture. My sister had requested a copy of this picture, but I needed to photoshop the damage.

While fixing the picture I had to zoom in pretty tight to fix all the little pixels. Some of the damage was around my father's eyes. Something happened. I finally felt some softness about my father. I saw kindness in his eyes that I never saw while growing up. I fixed them. I am fixing me. My father in some way was a damaged man who never healed. I am a damaged child trying to heal.