life:: eulogy

IMG_2924We’re going to take a moment here to mourn the loss of my Annie Annie.  She passed away of a heart attack too young, after recently retiring from the corporate life to pursue her dream and open a cake decorating business.  She was my fairy godmother and yes, I realize I didn’t call her my Aunt Ann because although she had 26 nieces and nephews, she was MY Annie Annie.  (I often stressed that to my cousins back in the day.)

On the day I was born, she gave me my most cherished childhood toy, my Buffy Puppy.  Recently, I had worked at re-creating Buffy for a pattern to share here.  I wanted other kids to be able to love a stuffed toy that much too.  That is how much it meant to me. Although it’s not done, I now feel the need to work harder at perfecting the pattern.

  That is one overly loved stuffed toy ~ poor thing has seen better days.  But hey, Buffy is 47 years old…cut her some slack.

When I was a small child, Ann moved from the country with my Grandma Amy to the big city.  She lived with my family for a time in the 70’s before getting her own apartment.  She was a godmother, a big sister, and a spare mom all in one while she lived with us.  At the time, I was still the only child so it was awesome to have another playmate to annoy at all possible moments of the day.  She was a captive audience.  And what an audience she was.  She was so present in every moment.  When I spent time with my Annie Annie she made me feel heard, cared for, and that time spent being silly was never wasted.  She had a wonderful sense of humor and never let me forget that I announced as a child I should be addressed as ‘Lisa Victoria From the First’. She would also play loud music on her record player in the basement and we would have dance parties to ‘Benny and the Jets’, or ‘My Baby Does the Hanky Panky’ which would invariably end in both of us collapsing in giggles.  She added so much to my love of silly.

In the 80’s, I had the first real and true scare in my life.  Ann had cancer.  Ann survived with courage and grace.  She lived very far away by then, but came home often and I took every opportunity I could to spend time with her finding our silly.

Fast forward to my 30’s and I got the next real and true scare of my life.  I had cancer. My Annie Annie was there for me.  There were so many questions and she was patient and helped me through all of the answers.  She coached me through surviving with courage and as much grace as I could muster.  She was a calm voice, a cheerleader, a fairy godmother.

When my father got diagnosed with cancer next, I relied on all of her advice to help coach him through too.  I tried to pass it all on, pay it all forward.  I think I helped, and I owe it to my Annie Annie for the strength be his calm voice and his cheerleader.

This spring, she finally was able to retire at 68 from her day job.  She was starting her next career.  I was so excited for her.  She had recently called me to tell me that she had finally picked a name for her new endeavor.  She was calling it Annie Annie’s Cakes.  That was so sweet, it bought tears to my eyes.

She was so special.

She will be missed.

My life has been made better by having her in it.

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life:: sometimes you just can’t go home

Sometimes revisiting your old stomping grounds can just make you sad.

Recently, Frankie had to go home to Ohio for a funeral and like every time we go home, he stopped by to see our old house.  We lived there for a very long time and it was our safe place, our hideaway in the woods, our place to find peace from the chaos of the world.  We lived in Shawnee State Forest in the foothills to the Appalachian Mountains and it was a haven for too many reasons for me to blather on and on about.  Suffice it to say, it was where we healed from very traumatic events in both our lives and became the best of friends and learned to move forward.  ‘Nuff said there.

Our beautiful 20 acres was bought by an entrepeneur who saw the potential we always had, but he had the money to make it happen.  He turned our corner of the world into a beautiful wedding garden and reception hall and threw outrageously fabulous weddings.  FYI, we got married in our front yard 10 years previous to that, and the photo ops were stunning.

Our old farmhouse always stayed as the caretaker’s home behind the scenes.

Fast forward 10 more years later, and the entrepeneur lost his millions in the Great Recession a few years ago and now has all but abandoned the business.  Our old property is on the market again for many 100’s of thousands of dollars more than we sold it for back in 2002.  Although we would love to buy it back, we are love rich and cash poor.

So back to his stop there last month…

He took gobs of photos, but they are so incredibly sad.  The old place is no longer as we remember it…overgrown…falling apart…totally neglected.

I went through all the photos over and over and decided to only keep the not-so-sad…the ones that can still remind me of home.

old house 2014

~from this angle it’s not quite so bad, and my Granma Amy’s snowball bush is in the foreground and flourishing~

our creek 2014

~our mountain runoff creek is still wild and sun-dappled and just as I recall~

loveseat 2014

~and my ‘loveseat’ rock that Frankie hoisted up & out of the creek to sit and contemplate life, while extremely overgrown, is still there on the creek bank~

 Edited to add::

After writing this post, I needed to see some shots of my old life in Ohio.  This is how I remember our creek and our loveseat.

creek 4

loveseat 2loveseat 3
Think happy thoughts and make today ridiculously amazing!

photography:: even more spring from my point of view

My Mom’s magnolia tree, my Granma Amy’s legacy snowball bushes, and a wee little hummingbird nest.

I love spring.

magnolia

magnolia 2

snowball 5

snowball bush 4

hummingbird nest

Have a ridiculously amazing day!

crochet:: vintage elf slippers

Gifted from my Mom recently.

vintage elf slippers

They were made by my Granma Amy somewhere around 40 years ago, and only worn a few times.

Yay 🙂

crochet:: meet granma amy

Lots of people stop by to visit me because of this pattern.  And awhile back I told you a whole lot about her here.

My Mom gave me this wedding portrait over the weekend, and I thought I would introduce to you the woman who fostered my love of crochet.

wedding photo

If someone taught you or encouraged you or introduced you to a wonderful hobby and they are still around; tell them thank you.  I would if I could.  She has no idea and I would love to tell her.

Thanks for stopping by.

crochet:: a present from granma

Last week, I was pulling dishes out of the buffet in the dining room.  I was getting ready for our Thanksgiving dinner, and  I wanted to make sure I had just the right table settings for the meal.  I see no reason not to use the good china and cloth napkins.  Why wait for a rainy day?

I opened an antique covered dish and found a gift from my Granma Amy.  She has been gone for several years now, and obviously I don’t use the old covered dish often.  But it was a nice surprise and a sweet reminder of her.

bookmark cross

I think it will work nicely as bookmark for my new Tunisian pattern book…