Monday, May 1, 2017

Happy May Day

© Kathy Duncan, 2017

When I was a child, we made May Day baskets that were filled with candy and flowers. Then we hung them on the door knob at our friends' houses. Sometimes the recipient was a secret (or not so secret) crush. I still have a basket pressed in my childhood scrapbook from that time.

Happy May Day!!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

I Was Comment 4ish. And Then I Wasn't.

© Kathy Duncan, 2017

Or--I Was Deleted by Bonnie Hunter Today.

Not sure which would make the best title.

Today I'm going to break my own rule about not posting from my personal life. This is supposed to be a blog about quilts and dolls. It's supposed to be about getting my quilting mojo back after I lost it seven years ago when my husband had his cardiac catastrophe (of which the stroke was just a small part).

A little over seven years ago, life was humming along. Things were good. Positive. Upbeat even. Blessed. I was making plans for the summer. I had been to a friend's house to purchase civil war reproduction fabric from her stash. I was participating in Jo's Little Women at my favorite quilt shop. My husband was excited about his daylilies, which were on the verge of blooming. He was looking forward to a good bloom season. It turned out to be a spectacular bloom season, but we both missed it. On April 7, 2010, he experienced an aortic dissecting aneurysm with accompanying stroke. He spent the next four months in the hospital. His resulting health issues and complications dramatically changed our lives. I miss our old life. Everyday.

That sort of brings me to today. This morning started out "normally" enough. Then I read Bonnie Hunter's post and just felt compelled to respond. Sometimes I just can't stop myself. My reaction was to her statements about hard work resulting in abundance and blessings. Suddenly, I just had to comment. Keep in mind that one of Bonnie's hard and fast rules is that she deletes the comments of people who are negative.

I wrote my comment after three previous comments had auto-posted, so I was about number four. I left that tab open and checked emails. When I drifted back a few minutes later, there were seven comments, and mine was gone. Deleted. That surprised me for two reasons. One, I was surprised that she found my comment "negative." Two, I was surprised that she was so fast. I don't know how she could get so much sewing done today and monitor her blog so closely.

It's too bad that I did not screen shot my comment - provided I could have done it fast enough. My comment was to the effect that the ability to "work hard" is a blessing that the ill and disabled don't have. Their caregivers work hard, and some care givers work even harder to hold down jobs that provide health insurance while also being caregivers. Not many blessings rain down on these folks. Despite their hard work, they don't receive an abundance of much unless you count an abundance of medical bills, an abundance of doctor's appointments, an abundance of time spent in pharmacy lines, an abundance of hours spent on the phone with insurance companies and health care providers. Life is not at clear cut as many would like. That's it. That is basically what was deleted.

Too negative or too real?

I refrained from saying that hard work does not always equal abundant blessings unless you think in terms of the type of "blessings" that Job received. I did not mention the abundance of grief and the abundance of worry because that would be....well.....negative.

My experience today is indicative of the experience of too many of our nation's ill and disabled. They are ignored and marginalized because bad health is unpleasant. It's negative. People look through them or away from them. They are left feeling invisible. Talking about their plight or their feelings of frustration is just not upbeat. Not relentlessly positive. They and their families are metaphorically deleted.

Usually, the frustrations of caregivers are greeted with platitudes about making time for themselves. No one ever exactly explains how that is supposed to happen. How do I find the time to quilt when there are so many medical tasks, so much laundry, so much yard work, so many research papers to grade, and that pesky job I have to go to next week? How do I find the energy? Please don't tell me that people find the time for the things that are important to them. That just makes me want to scream. It's right up there with saying that people are as happy as they choose to be. Maybe I should find it refreshing just to be coldly deleted. It may be brutal, but at least it's honest. Stripped of all mindless platitudes.

Of course, once I thought about it, I realized that I should not be surprised by Hunter's reaction. Go back and read earlier in that same blog post, and you will find Bonnie making fun of a mentally ill woman, who walked naked through an airport.

I will be the first to say that Bonnie Hunter obviously works very hard and keeps up an exhausting pace of activity. She generously shares patterns with her fans. She deserves to enjoy everything that she has accomplished. However, it is important to remember that Bonnie Hunter is a brand. Brands protect themselves with positive images and energy as much as possible.

As an adult, I need to remind myself that often the people we admire are flawed. In fact, we might not even like them if we knew them.

Will I continue to read her blog? I don't know. Would I take one of her classes? I don't know. I do know that I can't always limit myself to being silent or a stranger's relentlessly upbeat cheerleader.

I blog for a few reasons. My genealogy blog exists to share my research with other family researchers who have not been researching for as long as I have and who have not had access to the same sources that I have. I blog here to try to push myself to get back to quilting...even a little.

It is important for bloggers to remember that their readers are often people who are "shut in" because of health issues or care giving. Blogs often take the place of a shrinking social life. I became a much heavier blog reader after my husband came home from the hospital. Quilt and doll artist blogs, in particular, gave me great joy during those long months when I could no longer attend my quilt group's meetings or go to a quilt store. In fact, my favorite store closed during that time, and I did not know it until six months later. I was that cut off from my previous life.

On a more positive note, this spring our irises had more color and vibrancy than ever. I did not get a single picture of them because life got away from me. I will just have to content myself with sharing pictures from last year. Once again, I am looking forward to summer when a little quilting might happen. Or not.

Monday, May 1, 2017 evening update:

Watching Jimmy Kimmel tonight was emotional. My heart goes out to him and his family. Their experience with their newborn son has been wrenching.  As a family member, I've been right there with all the doctors and nurses in a cardiac unit (for a month), and I could completely empathize with him. I know what it is like to live in that hospital world that is like an alternate, twilight universe (for four straight months), where time elongates, and every day is about a week long, where every decision seems to be a choice between life and death.  I know what it is like to feel intensely grateful and indebted to the medical staff. I know what it is like to have emotions that are so raw and so on the surface. I could not watch Grey's Anatomy for over a year afterward because the sound of the alarms on the monitors would put me right back into that experience, and Grey's had been one of my favorite television. Once on Code Black, a character said something like, "An aortic dissection. That's something you never want to see on a CT."

Yup, that's right. Positive thoughts going out to the Kimmel family.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Dallas Quilt Show, 2017

© Kathy Duncan, 2016

It's a Charmed Life, the 2017 Dallas Quilt Show, has come and gone. Below are a few highlights from the show. These quilts were my favorites.

The first quilt is called "Family Reunion" by Barbara McCraw. It was inspired by her genealogy research on Ancestry. It is a spectacular quilt. My one hope is that she will expand her research beyond Ancestry. After the show, it was announced that "Family Reunion" won the Viewers' Choice Award. I certainly voted for it!

This is a close up of the center block. If you look closely at the bridal couple's feet, you will see a broom stick.

As wonderful as the center block is, the block below was my favorite. I just like its grace and the sense of movement it has.

This was another delightful quilt by Susan Holland. It is called "Phoebe for Mary." She spent three or four years on it. The colors were much brighter than it appears here.

This is a close up of the center block, which give you a better sense of its vibrancy.

This is another quilt that made me happy. I did not catch the maker's name.

This quilt just made me smile. Old trucks always have that effect on me.

Apparently, I was drawn to pictorials this year. This little plane in a field of blue bonnets reminded me of West Texas - if West Texas had blue bonnets.

Another pictorial of a faux small town. Or a ghost town? It is comprised of five panels.

This quilt is an original design and is composed of several techniques. It's bright and makes me happy. I had a chance to speak to the maker. She is a delightful, talented young woman.

And I had my annual visit with the Dallas Guild's quilt, which I think is called Dallas Primitive. It was made in about 1996 or 97.

This is really two blocks. The boat is one, and the chickens are the other. I made the chicken block, and it won a blue ribbon. Then the following year, one of the light chickens was the show logo. Pretty cool, eh? Anyway, the little street sign indicates that the chickens are wandering the streets of Dallas at the corner of Ervay and Young. Those streets were named after early pioneers of Dallas. Also, if you know your way around Dallas, then you know that the Dallas Public Library is at that corner - no possibility of a boat passing by there. This block is my tribute to the Dallas Public Library, where I have logged many, many hours doing genealogy research instead of quilting. I hope Barbara McCraw will check it out when she is not making delightful quilts.