Popping In

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I’ve clearly gotten out of the habit of posting, which is a shame as I use this blog to help us remember all of the small and big moments in our lives. I want to promise I’ll be back regularly now, but really- who knows? Life has been busy but wonderful, which leaves me with less inspiration that I had when times were tougher. I’ve always used humor as my coping mechanism and writing a blog was my therapy.

I don’t really need that kind of therapy anymore, so I need to find some new inspiration to post. You’ll have to forgive me if I am a bit rusty! In the meantime, we’ve been enjoying summer to the fullest, working on a slew of home and garden projects, and building my new business. I’ve been feeling great minus a migraine here and there, and feeling like it doesn’t get much better than this.

And have you heard the big news? I’m going to be an Aunt!! Twice!!! Craig’s sisters are both expecting (along with many of his cousins) and I am so looking forward to having some babies around to spoil and snuggle.

It really doesn’t get much better than this, and I’m going to enjoy this time while it lasts.

What’s in a Name?

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This time last month I was doing some brain-storming. I knew I wanted to open my own fabric shop, but I wasn’t quite sure what to name it. What would be descriptive, and memorable, and stand out from the crowd? I came up with many, many clever puns on the words “sewing”, “quilting”, and “fabric” but guess what? It’s all been done before. No matter what I dreamed up, someone else had beat me to it. Well drastic times call for drastic measures, or at least some foriegn language. Spanish? Can’t speak it. French? I was always terrible at French. German? Nicht, sounds too gutteral. Well, Italian it is then.

I’d like to introduce you to my shop, Cucire.

Q-What? , my husband asked dubiously. That’s impossible to pronounce.

Yes, so it is. A true Italian would likely say something along the lines of “coo-CHEER-uh” with a nice, long rolled R sound. My daughter says Coochie. The word looks like you would say, “Q-sear-A”. Sure, that’s fine! It’s all okay, because you can prononuce it whichever way you may like. However you say it, you’ll probably remember that little shop with the ridiculous name. At least that is what I am hoping. As for meaning, Cucire simply means “to sew.” There you have it!

I spent a semester in Italy, and it was one of the highlights of my life. Italians know a little something about fashion, and they know a little something about quality. I think it is the perfect inspiration for my little shop.
I intend to carry fabrics with a modern flair geared for sewing of all types. There will be quilting cottons, mostly solids, but a lot of voiles and knits as well. I am also carrying high quality threads and needles, and am working on stocking matching threads for each of the fabrics I have listed. That piece of the store is a work in progress. I have some King Tut threads in stock, and have Aurifil threads and fun thread kits on the way. There is also a section of the shop devoted to sewing notions and tools. I’m starting out small both by design and necessity, but I’m planning on ‘biggering and biggering and biggering’, as the Onceler would say.

I literally have boxes showing up daily, and I love it. I’ll love it even more when our renovation is done and all of the merchandise doesn’t have to live in our dining room. All in good time, I know!

It’s exciting, and scary, and overhwleming all together. I have a feeling I will be stalking my Etsy stats for a few days with more that a little nervousness. I hope you all like what I have put together, and I would definitely welcome your support as I try and get this little venture up and running. Even if you don’t sew, you can help me out tremendously by sharing my shop with your sewist friends and relatives. I’m not going to do any formal marketing until I have a bit more stock on hand, so any word of mouth help here at the start would mean to world to me. I have the cutest darn business cards you have ever seen (promise!) and I would love to share a few with you. For all of my potential customers, I want you to know I will do everything I can to earn and keep your business. I want to provide a service that is useful and helpful, and if I get it wrong, I want to know. I’m going to work hard for you!

I think that’s it. It’s a big day tomorrow. Wish me Luck.

(Want to know a little secret? The shop is actually already open, for ease of arranging listings. Take a peak if you would like. . Bookmark and favorite and purchase away!!!)

(One more little secret while I’m at it, use code “LOCAL” at checkout if you would like to pick up your order, or ‘KCMQG’ if you want me to hand deliever to the meeting and the shipping charges will magically dissapear! These codes will work forever, or at least until 2016.)

Life, Death, and Love

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Buckle up, this might be is a bit long.

The news this past week has been horrifying. I’ve been watching as much as I can with two young kids around, and my heart just breaks for those who have lost their loved ones. As with the Newtown tragedy, I have watched tearful relatives tell all of us about the speical qualities of the people they have lost, helping us understand the true depth of their loss a little better. And yet, as I watch these heart-broken relatives, I can’t help but to think that they would give anything to tell those words to their loved one, instead of to all of us on the sidelines. And maybe I think that way because I imagine that is how I would feel.

I’ve lost so many people that I have loved deeply that at times it doesn’t seem fair, as if life ever is. And sometimes I’ve dealt fairly well, and sometimes I’ve been a complete mess. And when I think back on those hard time I’ve come to realize that what I was really struggling with is that I didn’t have that chance to tell those people how much they meant to me. Before Melissa passed away last year, her family graciously allowed their house to be filled with people telling her goodbye. I was able to hold her hand, and talk to her, and thank her for being such a positive force in my life. And there were a steady stream of visitors doing the same, and it was sad in some ways, but it was also really amazing as well because what an amazing testiment to her life! My grandmother passed away the month prior, and due to the horrendous timing of my tumor ordeal, I feel like I completely missed out on spending time with her at the end. My Dad told me it wouldn’t have been for her, it would have been for me. He’s right. And so I wrote that blog post about my Grandmother and how wonderful she was, and I wrote it for me.

This is a VERY roundabout way of getting to my point, which is, I know longer want to wait to tell others what they mean to me. I selfishly want to make it easier on myself to cope one day. I want ALL of you to know how much I love you and appreciate you, and I’m going to be saying that more. But right now, I need to write a post for me, about my Dad.

In November of 2010, the phone rang at 2 in the afternoon and I picked up to hear my Mom’s distraught voice on the other end. And I had no idea what she was saying, but the panic had already settled into my gut. I had this awful feeling of deja vu from when Craig’s mother had called me just two years prior to let me know that Larry had suffered a heart attack. And within moments, this awful feeling was confirmed as Mom was able to get out that Dad had a massive heart attack and that he was in surgery. The drive to Topeka with my brother was one of the worst hours of my life (and there have been some really bad hours), both of us literally sick and shaking with fear, trying to console each other that the worst would not happen. Dad survived that day, and we all know now how incredibly lucky he is and we are all as well, because he sustained serious damage to his heart.

I talk to my Dad a lot on the phone, I always have. I’ve always been close to both of my parents, they raised Eric and I in a stable and loving home, and we were almost always poor but spoiled with attention and their time. The nature of my Dad’s job meant that he took the lead in a lot of the parenting duties, doing my hair in braids for school, being there when we got home, and looking after us when we were sick. In college I stayed close to home, despite my earlier threats to move across the country, and enjoyed growing closer with my parents now that I no longer viewed them as mean and heartless. To be fair, Dad got a pass on a lot of my more horrid behaviour as he was always so even-keel and hard to get riled up. And when he did ever get mad, I instantly knew I deserved it. He was the campus pastor at K-State for the Methodist Church at the time I was in college, and I attended UMCM weekly, though it took nearly a year for the other students to catch on that we were related. I met Craig there, and Dad predicted our relationship would happen before I ever did. He married us in 2004, in a ceremony that true to form was filled with heartful sentiment and the corniest jokes you could ever imagine.

As a pastor, he not only had the priveledge of uniting couples in marriage, but also the responsibility of memorializing those who had passed. He was, and is, remarkably gifted at this. He officiated the funeral of his own father, a man whom I had known only as drunk and reclusive. And what I will never forget is how he didn’t gloss over this, he talked about people for who they truly were- both their strengths and their faults. And this view of the complete person allowed us all to grieve in an honest way. There were many other difficult funerals to follow: my maternal aunt, grandfather and grandmother, and Dad’s own mother. Can you imagine? And in every case, he found the perfect way to help us towards closure. I tend to drown in sorrow and emotion after a loss, and throughout the years my Dad has been teaching me how to cope with loss in a healthier way. I’m a work in progress.

The past few years after his heart attack and susequent surgeries, Dad keeps bringing up in casual conversation that his heart isn’t going to hold out much longer. He discusses his prognosis the way you would the weather, in a matter-of-fact manner that has driven my brother and I crazy. We would prefer not to think that way. But I’ve recently come to suspect he is doing this on purpose, to force us to face a hard truth now in order to make it easier to deal with in the future. I can’t bear the thought of losing him, the thought makes my heart break. Writing this has been a long time coming, because it’s just so hard. I would like to ignore what is fact and live as if he will always be here with us becuase the alternative doesn’t seem do-able. But we have to face that reality, and I think that accepting it will help us all love each other as fully as we can. Not a single one of us knows what tomorrow may bring.

So Dad, I want to tell you that you mean the world to me. I love how involved you have been in my life, how you are so obviously proud of me, how you encourage me and challenge me, and how you and Mom have taught me how to love others. I love our frequent long phone calls, and the fact that you tell me about your Master of Commander book series every time I see you. Your passion for learning was a massive influence in my life, and I love that you passed your artistic abilities on to me, and especially that you cultivated in me a passion for sarcasim and wit. Giving you, and Eric, and Mom a hard time is one of my life’s great joys, and I learned that from you. I love that I’m your favorite daughter and I will always know that deep down I am your favorite kid too, but I’ll keep it our litle secret. I wish you had been a bit more generous with your athletic ability, but I suppose you wish that I cared about sports even the little tiniest bit. Sorry about that. Your grandkids ADORE you and I’m amazed at how much energy you give them even when you feel like crap. I wish you didn’t have to feel like crap, and I don’t mind you complaining about it because lord knows I have complained to you all over the years. When you’re gone, I’m going to be pretty devasted, I won’t lie. I’ll probably be a big ‘ol weepy heap of mess, and I hope there is someone out there who will be able to comfort me the way you would have. Maybe you should think about writing me a letter, something funny and sarcastic and full of corny jokes and comfort. I hope I won’t have to read it for at least another decade, but I know you don’t think that will be the case. Dammit. I really love you Dad and I’m so glad I get the chance to tell you that now instead of writing this to the sky when you are gone. (You better get me those religion books soon, and work on me while you still can.)

One more thing, you probably shouldn’t call me to tell me that you have read this. Because if you do I won’t be able to talk about it. I’ll probably have to hang up on you, and that would be rude. But I’ll know you’ve seen it because you check my blog religiously. That’s pretty cool. And however long we all have left together, you’ll know how I really feel. This is for you Dad, and also for me.

The Birth of a Business

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Remember that little post where I declared that my goal for 2013 was mediocrity? I know some of you do. It appears that I have pushed mediocrity to the back burner in favor of pure chaos. (Who adopts a dog and a cat at the same time?). But I must thrive in chaos because I have never been happier. I left my job last May, a gut-wrenching decision that left me deflated. I’ve grown to love being home with the kids more than I ever would have expected, but a part of me has felt restless. The migraines and ‘fibro-flares’ have made it abundantly clear that I would not be returning to a desk job anytime soon, so it became time to dream some new dreams.

I decided to dream big.

I am going into business. And the best possible kind of business, in my opinion, the fabric business. Judging by the leaning towers of bins in my sewing room, one could correctly surmise that I love fabric even more than I love sewing. And I LOVE sewing. The thought of being permanetly surrounded by bolts of gorgeous fabric leaves me giddy with happiness!

I will be sure to share more details in the coming weeks, such as the name of my business and the itmes I plan to stock. The shop will be geared towards the garment sewist, but many of these substrates make wonderful quilts as well. I am starting out on Etsy as I am familiar with the interface and it takes awhile to build a website and a customer base. We are busy on the home front tearing apart the house to accomadate this new venture (I’m adding new projects seemingly by the hour), and it is thrilling to watch it all come together! Boxes of inventory will start to arrive this week, and I hope to be up and running by the beginning of May!

Three cheers for happy chaos!!

A family in need of prayer

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I need a little favor, or maybe it’s a big favor.  You know I’ve struggled with faith a lot over the past few years and the more I’ve read and sought truth, the harder I find it to believe in the faith of my childhood. It’s a journey of discovery that leaves me with more and more questions and fewer answers than I would like. But I know most of you do believe, and most of you have prayed for me during times that are really hard and I’m so thankful for that.  I’ve been offering up fervent prayers myself lately, the kind that I haven’t prayed since I was diagnosed with that darn tumor. 

You see, my dear friend Kristy just delivered a beautiful set of twins last Wednesday.  A boy and a girl, Jude and Maria.  These two sweeties were due on July 4th.  They were born at 25 weeks, micro preemies that have a long fight ahead of them.  Kristy and her husband have faced more hardship in the past ten years than most will ever face in a lifetime, and have shown such remarkable strength and grace.  Kristy has been a HUGE inspiration to me and I love her dear family so much.

My prayer for them is that have more good days than bad days, that these little twins continue to grow stronger and healthier, and that their family of five will be blessed.  That the doctors and nurses will take excellent care of these sweet little babies. That Kristy and Jeremiah with find strength in the love of their family and friends, and know that even complete strangers are thinking of them and praying for them. 

If you can do this for me, and for them, I would be so grateful. 

In The Clear

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This weekend my parents came up to watch the kids and our four! pets and even the fish, as Craig and I headed up to Excelsior Springs to enjoy some R&R at The Elms hotel.  And it was FABULOUS.  The hotel is historic and gorgeous, and every little detail was perfect.  There is a brand new spa area called the Grotto, which included dry and steam saunas, hots baths, steam showers, and cold showers along with the most comfortable lounger I have ever sat in.  It was heaven.  Followed by an amazing dinner and unusual cocktails from the pre-prohibition era, which were strong enough to ensure that I had absolutely zero problems with insomnia!  There was also the most unusual lap pool hidden away in the very lowest level of the hotel, it was built around columns and was shaped like a compressed O.  You could literally swim laps in circles with no flip turns required.  Hard to describe, but I’ve never seen anything like it.  There was a gorgeous heated pool outside as well which was unfortunately closed, but we did enjoy the outdoor hot tub.  It is just a fabulous get-away hotel and I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone in Kansas City.  Less than and hour drive, but it feels worlds away from home.

Unfortunately we had to follow all of the relaxation and indulgence with a trip to KU Med for a CT scan and appointment.  I definitely was not looking forward to it and the CT scan was not the best.  They couldn’t get an IV going, called in an IV “team” and she told me confidently that she does nothing besides IV’s all day long.  She couldn’t get one going either so they used a machine to find a vein and guide in the IV.  I was feel a little woozy by this point as the missed attempts in my hand didn’t feel so hot, and I hadn’t eaten since breakfast.  40 minutes after the first attempt I was finally able to go in for the scan.  I did fine on the first few passes but when they added the iodine contrast to the IV, I was ready to puke.  I made it through and spent another twenty minutes afterwards with a barf bag getting my blood sugar and blood pressure taken.  The IV nurse commented jokingly that she didn’t want to see me again, and I told her “Ditto!”.   Only I can turn a ten minute procedure into an hour plus of ridiculous.

Thankfully, I’m not going to need to worry about another contrast CT again for a very long time.  At least not for this, because my results were CLEAR!!!  Dr. Schnayder felt confident that after a clear scan we don’t need to rescan next year, there is almost NO chance of this tumor coming back.  Hallelujah! I was overjoyed and had this huge goofy grin as she told me that everything looked great- the scar, my nerves, my facial muscles.  There is absolutely no sign I ever had this surgery.  I can tell you, I read a lot about parotid tumors during this time, and joined a number of support groups and my results are definitely not the norm.  I had SUCH a good surgeon, and I feel like I’m bragging but I am just thrilled by how well this has turned out.  One more clinical check next year (which is nothing) and I can more or less pretend this never happened.   Doesn’t get much better than that!

And tonight kicks off the Quilt Bootcamp 2013 “class” that I am “teaching” to a group of friends.  I am so excited to share my love of sewing with others and can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with.  It’s going to be fun!