Monday, September 26, 2011


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hi Everyone! Well, the best intentions don't always work. We have 5 days to pack the rest, which includes the office. Up very late and have to get up early.
If the story does not get finished here, it will in Colorado. I think we are winding down and the last step is the office! UGH!

And the Incredible Hulk is completely freaked out! If you move a piece of furniture he gets upset, so you can imagine.............!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Continued from last post.................
Her return in the fall of 1994 brought unexpected visitors. She appeared again with her older brother, who only stayed for a few days each fall and then left to join his friends who roamed the lower slopes together for a short period of time during this season. Our son, Dallas was home from college for a brief time, and watching me with her brother was always of great concern for Dallas. Her brother was now very large, and very masculine, but the concern was for naught, as he had kind eyes. Fear of him never entered my mind as I was familiar with his expressions, and could discern his willingness to greet me, even for a few days. Unlike Mama Cass, and despite his stature, he always reached his huge head out towards me to rub noses; then walked proudly away. It was this gesture that has remained with me all of these years.
She had brought other friends with her, and the yard was filled with them and their young. She and her brother were the only two who remained from the original family, and the others showed no signs of wanting any human contact. They did not scatter when I walked into the yard to be with her, but they had an air of indifference, and always walked away slowly when I approached. Our mutual attachment had not changed, and I respected the independence of the others, and was pleased that she was with her own kind and not alone.
She was 3 years old now, and had filled out from the rich summer that had surfaced and bloomed after the huge snow, producing ample food. Our days together were well spent, and once again the peacefulness had returned to our small world, as we watched her lead her new friends to the hillside where they rested every afternoon, overlooking our pasture, in the warm sunlight.
In November while working on a project in our garage, we heard a loud bellow, unlike the scream that had penetrated the silence when her mother died, however significant enough to send us running to the garage door to assure ourselves that everyone was safe. Having lived with their silent nature for so long, we were aware that any sound meant distress or pain. There, next to the house we witnessed what few had ever seen (according to our doctor). She had found a mate and the process was far from quiet. My husband and I looked at each other in awe, and quickly returned to the garage and closed the door.
The time was approaching for her to leave. I had done my homework, and learned that her baby would be born sometime in May. I was as excited as a soon-to-be grandmother, and looked forward to holding her offspring in my arms. Walking beside her down the driveway, I could see movement in her growing belly. I stopped and she looked at me, tilting her head. I placed my hand on her stomach and felt the shifting activity. A magnificent new life would soon be born, and I wished that I could be there to see it.
Our parting that spring was a time honored pattern, just as the springs before had been, only this time I watched her go from the porch steps. She looked back once, and disappeared into the forest with her friends.
A feeling of anticipation overcame me, and looking out at the melting snow, I breathed in the scent of the pines, knowing that I had a beautiful summer to fill my days. Double rainbows, and the flowers that I loved on the tops of the mountains that we climbed in our little red jeep. The roaring rivers as they tumbled over the rocks, and the mist that sprayed my face when I stood close to the breathtaking waterfalls. There were designs to do for my work, time to be spent with my family, and the ever present love for this place called Southwest Colorado.
To be continued...........

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Post Continued from last night...........
There was a foreboding wind that October of 1993, and the Aspens shed their leaves earlier than expected. Our fall expeditions on the 4-wheel drive trails came to a halt, and we stocked up on wood for our stoves.
Our family had yet to experience a harsh winter in Durango, as a drought had plagued the area for several years, leaving the Christmas season without snow on several occasions. We knew little of what was ahead or how to prepare for it.
I anticipated their arrival, but did not envision seeing them for a few more weeks. Much to my surprise, they stood in the yard, looking at the house as I looked out the living room window, with my morning coffee. They were a matriarchal society, with the elder female heading the lineage. She always stood on the front walk, close to the steps when they materialized, and I ran for my jacket and descended the front stairs. We called her Mama Cass, and I noticed how thin and drawn she looked. She had as close a relationship with me as her status would allow, never touching noses, nor sanctioning any physical contact what-so-ever. She stepped back, enabling me to see the entire family.
She was there before me, fully grown and winsome. All of the gangly appearance of a young female had vanished, but I recognized her immediately. We approached each other slowly, the anticipation of the first touch apparent. The ritual began as I bent down to rub noses with her. As we looked at each other, I put my arm around her and we walked together towards her mother, who had brought her new, young twins. They wore their winter coats early, which provoked a few suspicions in my mind. From past experience, I knew that it would take a while before I would be fully introduced to the twins, and I wondered how they would respond to me. Their mother was as warm and loving as ever, having been the first to make physical contact with me six years earlier. Through the chill of that first day, I watched them rest on the hillside, and ventured outside more often, just to be near them in tranquility. I photographed the twins, and rubbed noses with each family member as I came near them.
Several weeks passed and the snow began. A special part of the day was set aside to spend time with them, my concern growing for Mama Cass. As I walked out in the yard one morning, I noticed the twins standing with their grandmother and older sister, yet their mother was missing. I trudged up to the top of our hillside searching for her. A gunshot rang out, and then the most harrowing scream I had ever heard. A hushed existence was all I had ever known of them, and a scream was so out of character for their kind that a chill ran through me, and instinctively I knew that the twins, and my beloved friend had lost their mother. A sorrow overwhelmed me, and I put my arms around her and held her to me.
Sleep was difficult that night, and I shared my grief with my husband as I lay in his arms. He too had come to love them. They were a part of our existence throughout the winter months, and I pondered whether I had been with them so often that I was beginning to take them for granted.
Apprehensive about what I might find the next morning, I ventured out to see Mama Cass, the twins and their older sister standing together on the hillside that I had ascended the day before. The others in their family group were nowhere to be seen. Anxiety overwhelmed me as I watched them together at the top of the slope, and then they disappeared into the forest without one glance in my direction. Sorrow engulfed me. There was nothing ordinary about this vanishing. No explanation that made any sense to me. I walked back to the house, carrying the burden of this loss upon my shoulders as the snow begin to fall, and did not stop for days on end.
Six weeks had passed. Each morning I looked out our living room window, expecting to see them, but they were nowhere in sight. Our driveway had now been plowed three times, the third requiring a large tractor with a snow blower, just so that our car and the UPS truck could get through. The drifts were at least 6 feet tall, and impossible to distinguish much of anything, except for the hillside where they always appeared. I feared the worst. I would never see her again, nor would I be able to initiate a bond with the twins.
The UPS truck came into view one afternoon, and the driver knocked at our door to inform us that one of our treasured friends was dead behind a 6 foot snowbank in our driveway. We threw on our boots and coats and tromped through the snow to find Mama Cass. She had come home to die. The only permanent place that was home in her heart. It was a tribute to me, and to my husband as well. We understood, and as best we could, we performed a proper burial.
My worst fear had surfaced as she was nowhere to be seen. The twins were gone, and Mama Cass was no longer with us. The loss was overwhelming. Our loving friends who had been in our lives every day of every winter season had ceased to exist, and I wondered how I would get through the long winter days ahead without them......without her.
Another week passed, and I had disciplined myself to stop looking for her. Another snow had engulfed our yard, and I went out to shovel a path to the car. As if an unknown entity had tapped me on the shoulder and directed me to look up, I stood erect and gazed at the hillside. She walked down slowly, the snow slowing her passage. With tears streaming down my face, I lifted one foot after the other to reach her. No rituals were performed on that day as I held her in my arms. She was home and that was all that mattered.
Our doctor later explained that Mama Cass, as head of the family knew that death was imminent and had taken the twins to be raised in a different family, and had then returned home to die. It was an amazing set of circumstances and the remainder of that winter of 1993 was spent with my friend walking beside me in the snow, rubbing noses and giving an unvoiced love to each other.
To be continued.............

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Continued from last post..........
She continued to grow through that first winter, and we were together several times a day. I could now put my arms around her and hold her, and pull any unwanted intruder from her lovely coat and silky ears. The trust and bond between us became stronger as the winter began to blow away with spring winds that always whirled in a frenzy at the end of March and softened into gentler breezes as the end of April approached. They all rested on our hillside in the warmth of the afternoon sun, their tranquility and contentment a part of the landscape. It was a piece of the beauty of this place that I loved so much, and never a day passed that I did not give thanks for it.
Walking into the yard one day, early in the spring, she approached me slowly and stood at a distance for a moment, rather than advancing in her normal, friendly walk. The gaping wound showed immediately, and I realized without a second thought that she needed medical attention. I dashed for the house while she stood in the yard waiting for my return. Having called the appropriate doctor, who was aware of my experiences with this amazing family, I reappeared with medication that I was directed to use. The doctor had warned me that this sort of treatment, no matter how firm the bond between us was, would most likely not be allowed. Squeezing an entire tube of medication on my hand, and speaking to her softly, we touched noses, which was part of our daily ritual and communication. The medication was applied quickly. She stepped back, but not as abruptly as I had anticipated, and walked towards her mother. My fear of losing her forever was quickly eased when she looked back at me, took a few steps towards me and returned to her mother. I understood the thank you that I had received, even in the silence, as our communication was on a unspoken level. The medication was applied once a day until I was satisfied that no infection had set in, and she was safe.
It was time for her to leave with her family for the summer, and she had left her heavy winter coat behind. Their departure was never announced, as silence and calmness were a part of their being. Their withdrawal never left sadness within me as I understood their unspoken reasons, and looked forward to their return after every leaf of the golden Aspens had fallen in October.
To be continued..........

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's amazing what you find when you pack to move. The movers are loading the trucks on the 29th, so we are really pushing to get things done. So many things that I am packing remind me of my home. Southwestern candles everywhere, scrapbooks of the La Plata County Fair, my friends, and my sons when they were in 4H. I suppose that subconsciously we planned it this way, but didn't realize it at first. On October 3rd, 1985 we pulled into our driveway with two moving trucks in Durango, Colorado. On October 3rd we will pull into our driveway in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. It makes me wonder where 26 years have gone, and it seems that some of the things that happened to me there happened to another person.
I believe that if you are connected to something so strongly, and in tune with it deep in your soul, miracles come from it. They may not be recognized as miracles when they happen, but they are, and I know that they are drawn to you when you become one with your surroundings. You draw them to you without realizing it, and it may take years before you do recognize them for what they truly are.
Every night after a long days work I will write this post until I finish it, and then it will be closer to the time that we will be leaving. There were so many events from the very beginning that I look back on today, and am thankful for how fortunate I was to have experienced them. Some little ones, like seeing a double rainbow the second day we moved into our new home in 1985, and watching the cowboys drive their cattle down from the high country along our road. For someone who always loved the west, these were personal, small miracles. The big ones came a little later.
She was about 6 months old the first time I saw her. I had already formed a bond with her grandmother, her mother and her brother, but she was different. Her hair was almost black, and it was silky. Her eyes were blue, which is an unusual combination. Later they turned brown. She showed warmth towards me from the beginning. There was not the usual, awkward period that takes the time to gain trust for one another. She was wild, and she was free, but a part of her had connected to me so strongly that we communicated on our own level. Speech was not necessary.
To be continued............

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Robert and I have spent the day packing. Today was spent packing small things around the house and smaller pictures from the walls. I am fortunate enough to have framed pictures of 4 generations of one side of my family, including the marriage license and photo of my great, great grandparents, and Robert has a photo of his dad (Sicilian) as a young man and let me tell you, he looks like his name should be "Carleone!"
I had a good time because I realized how many times I go into a certain room and feel comfortable because the things I like are in that room, but how much do I really pay attention to them? How much do you pay attention the the things that surround you? I collect pottery, and although I don't have a large collection, I have some pieces that I have always enjoyed. The small bowl that I took a snapshot of was purchased probably 10 years ago. I don't even recall where I purchased it, but it must have been a private gallery as it is signed on the bottom. Now this piece was in my small 1/2 bath on the main floor of the house, and I had all kinds of decorative soaps in it, therefore the design was hidden. When we were packing the items from that room, I took a good look at it and fell in love with it all over again. Silly? Maybe. Maybe not! I get inspiration for designs from all kinds of things and today I connected what had drawn me to the piece and what it had inspired.....what else, but a quilt. I love the little quail on the piece and at that time had wanted to create a "Folk Art" looking quilt, and the quail really charged my imagination batteries and an entire quilt emerged.
This quilt is traveling the UK right now in the Championship shows there, and the photo doesn't really do Mary Nordeng's gorgeous quilting justice as she quilted the most incredible feathers on it that I have ever seen, but I thought I would share it and encourage you to have a good look around your house once in a while. It's amazing what you might find to jog happy memories - no matter how small it is! The quilt is called: "Birds Of A Feather".

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hope everyone sticks with me for about 4 weeks. This week I had a Newsletter to complete and then our server crashed with too many hits. I guess that's good news - right?
Quilting is a huge thing that makes me "tick", but it is the designing, choosing fabrics and seeing people happy with the designs that does the trick for me. I like the designing part the best. It used to be the sewing, but I'm at the computer so much now, that the designing gives me a break from all of the other things involved with running a business and hoping that things go well on a daily basis.

My writing, (which I have had little time for) is becoming more and more important, and I sneak a little in here and there. What constitutes a Miracle in my opinion is what I am writing about now, but it will have to wait until I get to Colorado and get settled.

This post is about me too, and the things that really "move" me emotionally. I guess this says a lot about my thoughts and feelings, so I will share this little story. Robert and I have had English Bulldogs for over 30 years. We lost one last year. Each time, it gets harder, but it doesn't stop us. The Incredible Hulk will be 9 years old on the 17th of this month, and thankfully he is doing very well.

One night I was working on a Facebook post and one of the side ads caught my eye. I think Facebook knows everything about everyone, because I continually have quilting and Bulldogs floating by me when I'm on Facebook, and oh yes, Barry Manilow! I clicked on the ad, and it was Bulldog Rescue of St. Louis, MO. Now, Robert and I grew up in St. Louis, met there, and married there. It was in 1985 that Colorado became our home. So it was the combination of the words "Bulldog Rescue" and "St. Louis" that made me click on it.

I'm no good at reading about abused animals. I can not fathom how anyone can abuse an animal, but they do, and fortunately there are wonderful people out there that do help. The Bulldog that caught my eye was a gorgeous white one who looked a lot like the one we lost last October. I read the story about him, and that night I had trouble going to sleep. It just haunted me, and I kept wondering over and over about him until tonight. This story has a happy ending folks!

His name is Harley, and at the age of 2 he developed "dry eye". Now this condition was easily treated by just putting two drops of medication in each eye twice a day. The people who owned him, just didn't care enough, or take the time to do that, so consequently, Harley went completely blind. He was rescued by St. Louis Bulldog Rescue and they have worked with him for months. He finally got to know the pleasure of playing with toys, which he had never been exposed to before. These wonderful people worked with him until he could find his way around in his surroundings and go up and down two steps on a lead. They were working on finding Harley just the right home, and every night I thought about him before I went to bed. The right owners had to commit to putting drops in Harley's eyes twice a day, and had to learn how to help him find his way around his new home.

Tonight I went back to Bulldog Rescue Of St. Louis website just to see if Harley had gotten a home. I took a couple of screen shots of him with his new family, and I swear he is smiling! The Hulk smiles - we've all seen him do it, but we just can't catch it on film. There were two wonderful pictures among several that really touched me, and I wanted to share them with you tonight, as it was a joyful experience for me. Even an animal does not have to see to experience love, and feel warm hands upon him, and peaceful voices surrounding him.

I'm happy for you Harley! Your sure deserve the very best! Congratulations to St. Louis Bulldog Rescue too!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

And you thought you had just joined a really active quilting BLOG - right? Well, it will get better after our move. Robert is packing my stash of books that will go in my office and I am working on the 7th block for our Mystery Block-of-the-Month, which I will post on Facebook when we have it online. Wanted to get this done now, because the closer we get to the end of the month, I will have NO TIME!
I have got to share this with my quilting friends because I really think that folks our age are prey for anyone out there that can possibly pull any kind of scam. Now this one is something new that I have never seen, and we learned something today.
We have several items that we do not want to haul back to Colorado, so I put them on Craigslist. I don't know how many of you have Craigslist in your area, but it's a big deal here in Georgia. I had never heard of it until we moved to Georgia. You have to know Robert's sense of humor to appreciate this, but about 10 years ago, we vacationed in Idaho, and I fell in love with a log bed. Now this is not an ordinary log bed, so I am posting a photo of it. It's completely Alder Wood and completely hand crafted. I was never in love with log beds until I saw this one because I considered it a piece of art. To make a long story short, I had it shipped to Colorado, and it was a pain in the neck to put together, but we did it! Robert never gave any opinion about this bed until we got it up and in place; then he tells me: "This makes me feel like I am in a refugee camp, reaching my hands between the posts begging for rice - please give me some rice!" I offered to sell it but he stuck with it all of these years.
We saw no way that it will work in the bedroom in our new home, and Robert was delighted, so I put it on Craigslist a couple of days ago to sell it. NEVER PUT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS ON CRAIGSLIST! I didn't know that, but now I do. So you can call me naive!
I started getting these emails from people who wanted to buy it. One woman wanted it shipped and was sending a cashiers check (with enough to cover shipping) and promised payment by courier. Two others wanted to send payment (cashiers checks - all of them) and wanted our name to put on the check, our address (where to have the bed picked up), our CELL PHONE number and that was about all. Well, I figured the first lady was pretty safe. None of them asked for any information that would have given them a chance for identity theft. That kind of information we do not give out. So - name, address and phone - right?
Robert called our bank and we read some of the warnings on Craigslist - so this is the scam:
They send you a cashiers check (which I always thought was safe) and they get the item. You do not have any personal information about them up front. They do not call you on a normal phone (caller ID), they just send the cashiers check, have the item picked up and then.........about 10 days later, when it's too late, the bank finds out it's a phony cashiers check and your bank charges YOU! Someone out there is going to tell me we were dumb not to know that you could get phony cashiers checks, but our bank verified it, and that was one I really didn't know about.
Obviously we are not even thinking of selling to these people, but its just a new one I haven't heard of and it's something that should be shared with as many people as possible. So the refugee bed may go home with us, but at least we are more knowledgeable.
P.S. I still think the bed is a work of art!!