A Crafter's Life

Stories from the Road, Part I

I’ve titled this post “Stories from the Road” because it is about my recent road trip across 4 states in the Eastern Coast of the United States as well as the new journey/road I am on as a widow after the recent loss of Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) my partner of many years.

First I want to thank everyone who left thoughtful comments on my previous post when I shared I would be taking a break from blogging. Please know I read and appreciate all the comments, I am not up to responding to them. I really appreciate my blogging community and I was feeling the love, thank you.  Originally I planned to take an extended break from blogging (or perhaps stop blogging complete) but I really enjoy writing and the amazement that people actually read my musings!

No matter how terrible my grief is, I continually work on remembering two things: 1) how lucky I was to be married to my best friend for over half my life; and 2) that TTQH would want me to go forward in life and be happy.

Every day I also work on smiling through my tears such as in this recent photo taken from my brother-in-law’s kitchen in Upstate NY during the get together we had honoring Terry:

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I am blessed to have a large supportive network of family, friends, and colleagues. My sister has been exceptionally supportive and I will talk more about that in the next section. My friends Marla Jo, Jason, Laurie, Michele, Judy, Kelly, Diane, Kathy, Dana and Lisa have also been exceptionally supportive.

Marla Jo and Jason were there on the worst day of my life, finding Terry after an aneurysm took his life. They took my dog Mike the Miniature Schnauzer and kept him for a week.

My friend Laurie was there on the second worse day of my life – going to the funeral home to make arrangements. I’ve mentioned outings with Laurie and her dog Luna in previous blog posts and on the second worse day of my life, Laurie took me to visit a horse property with horses she works with to give me a little equestrian therapy (see post Horsing Around).

My friends Michele, Judy, Kelly, and Lisa have continually checked on me as well as many other friends and coworkers who have reached out.

Terry’s family has been awesome and very supportive, especially his two amazing sisters, to include helping me with his end of life expenses. Friends have also reached out with financial support to help with travel and end of life expenses and I greatly appreciate that support. I learned how to set up a PayPal Me account so people could send money if they chose to support me in that way.

I received two creative ways of support that made me smile – a Whole Foods gift certificate from my boss (I love Whole Foods but it is usually too expensive to shop there regularly); and a huge gift card to my favorite restaurant in Central Oregon from some colleagues. I’ve already used them both as I have not been up to cooking.

Stories from the Road

My sister insisted that I immediately come to the East Coast of the U.S. to be with family when she learned of Terry’s passing. I was initially concerned about the huge cost of last minutes cross country flights; and that it was basically deep Winter in Upstate NY.

My wonderful brother bought me a roundtrip plane ticket to Baltimore after my sister found the best flight option. My incredible sister, who lives in Richmond, Virginia, picked me up from Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) and drove me across four states.

We stopped in Delaware to see my brother, his wife and their son (my adorable 6 year old nephew) and then headed to Tarrytown, NY to stay the night before going on to Upstate NY in the morning. My brother also covered our hotel reservation at a very nice Courtyard by Marriott using his frequent stay points (he travels a lot for business).

I am not sure how many miles my sister drove but I am pretty sure it was at least 800 – 900 miles roundtrip including her trip back home to Richmond. We crossed the following states: Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York. Part of our trip we had semi-scary inclement weather but my sister was an amazing driver. She insisted on doing all the driving.

We drove to the home of Terry’s sisters, Sue and Diane. You might remember their names from my blog posts about their visits this summer to attend the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (see post Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show 2018, Part II: Visiting Crafters).

They are both quilters and while we visited I got to see and play with their new long-arm quilting machine:

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That is a practice panel on the machine as they want to do a lot of practice before they work on an actual important quilt.

Speaking of important quilts, they have a beautiful quilt in progress on their design wall as a belated wedding gift for a family member:

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The live in the original family home and I got a kick out of seeing Terry’s old room turned into their quilt studio (still a work in progress):

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He would most definitely approve!

Terry’s sisters have rescued a couple Shih Tzu dogs from a puppy mill and have a golden doodle, Tucker. My sister and I were treated one evening to a “floor show” put on by one of the Shih Tzus and Tucker as they played tug-a-war while he dragged her across the floor as she held fast on the edge of her dog bed:

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All I could think during the show was how much Terry would have enjoyed this as he was a huge dog person (he actually liked dogs more than people).

More to Come

I will end this post here and continue the story in the next post. My energy is low as would be expected with profound grief. Please know I appreciate and read your comments but I may not be up to responding.

I am keeping the words of this old Chinese proverb in my mind:

You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair. – Old Chinese proverb


Feature Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life, Quilt Retreats

The Road to the Retreat

Last Thursday 5/12/16 I “hit the road” to Vancouver, Washington for a four-day annual quilt retreat with my ” Quilting Sisters” from California, Oregon and Washington. We gather at least once a year for a retreat, at Nancy’s Sew N Go Retreat.

This is post #1 of a series of posts about my quilt retreating experience!

ROAD TRIP!

Car loaded up with sewing machine, quilting paraphernalia, fabric and various projects, I got on the road early in the am on 5/16/16. Driving from Central Oregon to Vancouver Washington I found many “car buddies” along the way (see my post Repost: Road Trip for an explanation of “car buddies”).

My favorite “car buddies” were a brown Mercedes wagon and a gray Subaru that I followed for many miles on my road trip to the quilt retreat. If only they knew they had been my “car buddies” (they would have been very frightened by a wacky woman following them and making them her imaginary friends?!?!).


Music Time!

Solo road tripping is an opportunity to listen to wonderful music, rather loudly, and sing along at the top of your lungs! I had my iPhone with the “Tierney Mix” playlist loaded and hooked up to a FM transmitter that sent the music to my car radio. (Yes the classic 2001 Saturn 4-door sedans do not come with a jack for your iPhone or any modern amenities…).

The “Tierney Mix” is a very eclectic mix of music. Here is a sampling of 20 songs that played in order while I drove:

  1. Third World Man – Steely Dan
  2. Lovesick Blues – Hank Williams
  3. Your Love is King – Sade
  4. Annie’s Song – John Denver
  5. How Soon is Now – The Smiths
  6. Black is the Color – Nina Simone
  7. How Deep is Your Love – The Bee Gees
  8. Tom Sawyer – Rush
  9. Tennessee Waltz – Patti Page
  10. Don’t Break My Heart – UB40
  11. Gravity – Jon Mayer
  12. Heartbreaker – Pat Benatar
  13. Okan Bale – Angelique Kidjo
  14. Dancing Nancies – Dave Matthews Band
  15. Chan Chan – Buena Vista Social Club
  16. Nights in White Satin – The Moody Blues
  17. Like a Star – Corinne Bailey Rae
  18. Cozza Frenzy – Bassnectar
  19. Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits
  20. That’s the Way of the World – Earth Wind & Fire

As you can see my musical tastes are all over the place!

I am glad my “car buddies” and other vehicles could not hear me singing along!


The Road Trip Scenery

I know you are not supposed to be engaging in DWP (driving while photographing) but I assure you I only took photos while it was safe. Also there was some construction on Highway 26 (the road from Central Oregon to the Portland Oregon area) and I was stopped for awhile and took photos.

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The landscape is filled with the Cascade Mountains, especially Mount Hood; lots of high desert brush; and endless farms. There is quite a climb in elevation from Central Oregon to the Portland Oregon area through the Mount Hood pass.

Mount Hood itself rises to 11,240 feet (Wikipedia) at its summit. The elevation from Central Oregon to the Mount Hood/Timberline Lodge region climbs from 3500+ feet above sea level to 6000+. Occasionally my ears “pop” on the drive from the change in elevation (but that does not stop me from continuing to sing at the top of my lungs).

It is a winding mountain road and in the winter some times it is not passable. I never drive from Central Oregon to the Portland area in the winter, though many Central Oregonians have family in Portland (and are originally from the Portland area) and drive to Portland for Thanksgiving or other “winter holidays”. Winter begins at the end of October or early November in the Mount Hood pass area due to the elevation!

Finally I arrived at Sew N Go Quilt Retreat!

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Photo credit: Sew N Go Facebook page

NEXT POST: Sew N Go Retreating!