Thursday, June 18, 2009

Yesterday was a mixed blessing.

Yesterday, my youngest brother, Wayne Michael Hogan - Mike, passed away. He suffered with cerebral palsy all his life, and was 53, which I have learned is well beyond what most CP patients are expected to live. They expend four to five times more energy to do something an able-bodied person doesn't even have to think about. He had lost his ability to swallow (which happens in 20 percent of the patients), and was going to require a feeding tube. So, he won't have to suffer through that now.

He was born too soon in more than one aspect. My twin brothers were born at 6 months gestation . . . it's a miracle that they even survived. The doctors told my mother to put him in an institution and forget him. They didn't know my mother very well. We all helped at his exercises, which ultimately gave him the ability to walk. We gave him plates with peanut butter or sugar on them, to strengthen his tongue, and improve his speech.

He loved to fish, read, and watch racing on television. If he had been born a few years later, he would have benefited from all the programs that are now available to CP patients, and probably had a life of more contributions. He had a good mind, trapped in a damaged body. He made fabulous Lego creations, and he worked for one of my other brothers (a cabinet-maker) finishing wooden toys, and doing hand-rubbed finishes on custom pieces of furniture.

He had the sweetest, most gentle natured disposition, and was a terrible tease, too. He mocked all of us as we were growing up. In my junior high years for a time, one of my "fashion statements" was a headscarf and sunglasses. One day, I came home, and he came out of the bedroom with one of my headscarves on. "Madame Fifi" was born! I said Madame Fifi liked all things French . . . French couture, French movies, and especially French Fries. On my last visit to him at the hospital last week, I came into his room, and said, "They told me I would find Madame Fifi in here!" He just laughed and waved his hand at me in a "get out" gesture. We had a nice visit. He told me I look just like our mother, and gave me the most beautiful smile.

While he didn't have an opportunity to realize the full use his brain, he was the family pet . . . we all learned a lot about love from him. I'm going to miss him a lot. I wish everyone had an opportunity to feel the pure love he showered on his siblings. His illness was a burden, but he was a gift to us.

I had promised to knit him a pair of blue socks before winter, but he was gone before I even had a chance to start them. I think I will knit them anyway, and donate them to a charitable fundraiser in his memory. It will ease the sorrow, as the yarn slips through my fingers, and I can concentrate on good memories of him.

Yesterday was also my grand-daughter's twelfth birthday. She was selected to participate this week and next in "The Governor's Art Program" in Charlottesville, one of only 40 junior high students. She is the youngest in the group, and was a bit un-nerved by the whole thing the first couple days. Now, she is happy that she is participating. It will be interesting to see where this opportunity leads her. She is a talented artist and musician. My Mother had both of those talents, too. It's fun to see those talents continue through the generations.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pedal to the Metal!

Zoomed along and managed to get my Basket of Flowers top completely assembled. The gals in my quilt group talked me out of an additional border. I must admit, it's a nice size, and looks cute as it is, especially since it has my own stamp . . . every blossom is a different fabric, and it will be embellished with some cute buttons for the flower centers, once quilted.

On a roll at the machine, so out came "Old Tobacco Roads" to get it closer to being assembled. Kept up a pretty steady pace, and have just three strips to join the top together. Then, a spacer border and a pieced border, and it will be ready to quilt . . . or turn over to my friend, Viki, to machine-quilt for me. Can't decide for sure what will go across the machine bed next . . . I made a few pink and white nine-patches for "Double Delight", the fourth Quiltville Mystery. Bonnie Hunter has her fifth mystery, "Christmas Lights" in the current and next two issues of Quiltmaker. It hasn't yet appeared on our local news stands, so I signed up for the Bonnie Hunter special shown on her blog-site. Since that publication comes out every two months, it should be easy to keep up with it.

My three-ring binder of Bonnie's stuff was gasping and stretched to its' maximum. So, last weekend, I acquired another file box, and started filing everything "Bonnie Hunter" in it. It is the kind of file box which will accommodate hanging folders, so her book is in one folder, the issue of Quiltmaker with her first appearance in another, and one will be dedicated to the new Christmas Lights mystery issues. I gathered all my hand-outs saved from her website, and set up folders for those, too. Also included the journals compiled as each mystery was made. I probably should start looking for a two-drawer filing cabinet.

Two weeks ago, DH worked an auction. There was a lovely featherweight, and not many bidders, so it came home with him. It is in mint condition . . . all the gold is perfect, and the case is completely unmarked. A little oil, and grease, cleaned the felt out of the feed dogs, and its' only issue is a little "thread-throw-up" on the bobbin side of stitching. Dropped it off at Sink Sew and Vac in Lebanon for some of Gary Sink's TLC. It will soon be operating perfectly.

At the same sale, there was an older Kenmore in a cabinet. The sale was on a Friday, so I was only able to attend for a bit on my lunch break. I asked DH what that machine sold for, and he said only a couple dollars, sold with some bedding and a chair. I kind of grimaced, because I always seem to run into someone who is looking for a reliable machine. The lady who made the purchase was pointed out to me, and I went over to ask her if she had intentions for the machine. She said she hadn't even looked it . . . her objective was the chair. So, we walked over to the items, and took a good look. She asked what I would offer, and I said, "Five bucks". We made a deal. Later, after work, I went to the Fairgrounds, in case DH had more acquisitions than he could fit in his van. Sitting around chatting over the day's sale, I learned that when the machine first came up for bids, no one would even open it. Two fellows put up $1 each to get DH to take it, and he refused. I could have had it for nothing! I'll polish it up a bit, and find it a new home, after I'm sure it is in good operating condition.