Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A LIttle Change for the Blog Look

As you may have noticed, I changed the photo in my blog banner. I've had the blog for a while and I just got a little tired of seeing the same quilt for so long. This one is a miniature quilt that I made for the Quilter's Guild of Dallas "Quilt Celebration" live auction that was held last March. If I remember correctly, my friend Bonnie won the quilt in the auction. I think the quilt ended up being about 12 inches square. I called it Stormy Weather. It reminded me of the ocean and beach and all the colors you'd see when you can see a storm building out in the distance over the water. I loved these two pieces of hand painted fabrics that I bought from Mickey Lawler. I have a lot of the larger "light" piece left. The "dark" fat quarter is pretty much gone. Here is a photo of the complete quilt. I'm sure I've had it here before, but I thought I'd put it on again since you only see part of it in the banner. The machine quilting is mine and not very good. I am not a talented machine quilter, but hand quilting this little beauty did not work. I had to rip it out and go to the machine.

I love to make miniature pineapple quilts from 2 fat quarters of batik or hand painted fabric! It is always amazing to me how they turn out. Two fat quarters is enough to make the nine blocks. It is not enough to add borders, binding or the back. So, if you decide you want to try it and want to use one of the fabrics that are in the center for your borders and binding, get half of a yard of that one. You'll need another fat quarter for your back. Yes, just one yard of fabric and you could make a wonderful little pineapple quilt. There will be enough left over backing fabric for a hanging sleeve too. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Am Home

I've actually been home almost a week. I can't begin to tell you how good it is to be home. We arrived at midnight. It was dark, humid and the air was full of sound. I loved it! Frogs, cicadas, crickets, you name it -- they all just washed over us. It was a perfect homecoming.

I love my son. I love my grandchildren.
I would not trade one minute I spent with them over the last three months. Even the difficult minutes. And there were many of them, for both them and for me. (I'll go back to them if I'm needed, but I'm in no hurry.) Life is damn hard when a loved one dies. When two die within 12 days of each other, it's almost unbearable in many ways. Just putting one foot in front of the other while dealing with the day to day challenges of life is unbelievably hard.

Dealing with Teresa's loss while taking care of my grandchildren
was just too difficult. I have not grieved properly for her. I don't know if I ever will be able to. I have this defence mechanism of locking my grief (fear, rage, whatever it is at the time) into a little room inside me. I have yet to figure out where the room is -- in my brain or my heart -- I don't know. Once something is locked in, I don't really know how to take it out again to work on it. Let's just say, I'll need many, many hours of therapy to take care of it, more than likely. Until then, I'm home and I am happy to be here.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


The word "school" brings up all kinds of thoughts and emotions, doesn't it? School is out here for the summer now. The girls last day was Thursday and JT's last day was Friday. They actually go to school in two different school districts. The buildings are side by side and I never knew they were different in any way until the last of school.

I've dreaded this end to school. The end of any time to myself, with the house quiet. It's so different being here than in my own home. Being gramma compared to being momma. Having my own one child to tend and caring for my three beautiful grandchildren. So different.

I'm not normally this self-centered. At least I don't think I am. But I've been here 2 months. I can't leave the base on my own and just go do what I want to do in my "free" time. I can't go shopping on base. I'm basically stuck here taking care of the kids (which I do love) until my son is free to do something that I can participate in. You see, on a military base, you need to be active duty military or a dependent to get an I.D. card which allows you the freedom to leave and return and to shop on base. It allows for other things too, such as medical care, but I don't want or need that. Since I can't do the things that most of the base can do, I don't go anywhere without my son present. Don't want any trouble. I've been here longer than a normal visit due to the circumstances of my visit. The passing of my daughter-in-law.

Anyway, as I said earlier, I've dreaded the thought of the kids being out of school so that I don't have any time to myself. What I never thought of was how it was going to affect JT. You see, he was in kindergarten this year and he hated it. He's autistic. I think he has Asperger's Syndrome. We were never told where on the autisim spectrum JT is. His first teacher, this year, was not at all sympathetic to him that I ever saw. To be fair to her, she had over 20 children in her class and he was a big handful and quite disruptive. I don't really know why he was put into a mainstream class at that point, but he was and she was not prepared for it in the least. He was in the class way too long. His mother was quite ill also, so he missed a lot of school and I do mean a lot. His school day lasted half a day and was not required in CA so if she didn't feel like taking him, she didn't. Which did nothing to help him in the least.

By the time his mother had passed, his first teacher was fed up and called for a meeting with the principal, his father and the special ed teacher for kindergarten. It was decided on the spot that JT would be moved to special ed the next day. I'm sure his first teacher did a happy dance all the way home that night. I can't say I blame her, but I don't hold a lot of love for her either. In my opinion, she did nothing to help him and didn't even show him any kindness after losing his mother at the age of six. But that's just my opinion and I don't know her side and I was never in her classroom.

I can't begin to tell you the difference the special ed teachers made in JT's life! They were caring, patient and compassionate. They knew all he'd been though and treated him with respect. They admired his intelligence. They praised him, set boundaries, had punishments for bad behavior and rewarded good behavior. JT started to love school and his teachers. He ran to them every single morning, excited to face the days challenges. On weekends and the one time he was sick, he asked to go to school! That should have clued me in to the summer ahead. He's already asked me about 7 times if he can go to school today. And cried when I told him no, that it's summer vacation and he won't go to school for many, many, many days. This is going to be a long summer, not matter how much longer I'm here.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

So Far, So Good

The girls have been out of school for the summer for almost 5 hours now. I'm not totally insane as yet. For this I am thankful.

I just trimmed #2's bangs. She insisted on me using scissors. I was nervous, because I had a son, not a daughter and little girls who are almost 8 years old can get quite upset if you mess up their bangs. I think the only reason they are basically straight is because I'm a quilter. I've learned to "do" basically straight even if I can't get truly straight to save my life.

Number 1 heated up little JT's dinner while I was trimming bangs. Then she heated up her own dinner. Number 2 started her dinner heating when #1's was finished and then she read her brother a book while hers was heating. This could work out fine. I just have to keep the girls reading to little JT the rest of the time I'm here.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I'm a little down in the Dumps Today

I've been here helping my son and grandchildren for the better part of two months now. I didn't expect to be here this long when I said I'd come. To be fair, neither did my son. I'm ready to go home. I want to go home. I miss my own bed. I miss watching my favorite TV shows and sewing. I miss listening to the music I like and sleeping past 6:45 a.m. (if I'm lucky enough to sleep that late!). I miss my dogs and my hubby. I miss my momma. I miss my friends. I miss being able to get in my car and drive to wherever I want to go and shop or visit. I want to go home.

And in all fairness, I'm sure that my son is ready for me to go home too. The longer I stay, the shorter my patience quota for the day seems to be. The girls are really probably ready for me to go home too, although I don't think they'd ever say so. I've heard them tell me, more than once, that they want "gramma mode" back and "momma mode" gone. Apparently I'm pretty bossy right now and not just to the little kids. JT is the only one who seems immune to my grumpy periods.

I noticed yesterday that I have more gray hair than when I got here. Kind of a streak starting. I said something to my son about it and turned around so I could point it out to him. Only I didn't have to point it out. Apparently, what I thought was the start of a streak is more like a swath! He could clearly see it from 4 feet away!

So, today I'm a little grumpy and sad. I'm tired (haven't slept well this week) and want to take a nap, but I hate to "waste" some of my last precious alone time. Tomorrow is the last day of school for the girls and for some reason, JT goes one more day. Precious and few are the moments I'll have with you once they are out of school. Wish me luck.