Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Good, The Bad, And The Hot Pink!

Finally finished the cross-stitch of gymnast Anastasia Grishina. It was a tight squeeze on fabric I cut too small. I've had a problem with that lately. Some sort of "math-block" thing. Instead of putting her in a frame, she'll become a pillow using this fabric as a border and backing.
A roller coaster ride of a week. The weather finally turned nice this weekend, but I've been such a wreck emotionally. Talked to my mother on Tuesday and after 20 minutes of discussing the weather, the garden and the malfunctioning washing machine she suddenly announces that she has just returned from a doctor visit and that she was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. I am devastated. She, on the other hand, is quite relieved. For about five years now she has struggled to knit, to write clearly and most recently to walk at a normal pace. She said she thought she had a brain tumor! Now for my mother to say such a thing is really out there. She is the rock of the family; never an outward emotion about her. So for five years she's been suffering silently thinking she had a brain tumor. I really don't know what to make of all this. Since a few days have passed I can now see her 'happiness' in receiving this diagnosis, rather then the horrible one she expected. I spoke to her Friday, after one full day of the medication, and she said she had written a check. OK, in the ordinary scheme of things this is not a big deal. But she had been foisting off that duty to my father in order to hide the fact that she could only print her signature, and quite poorly at that. This is a woman who grew up in the Catholic school penmanship tradition of the 1930's and 40's. She was also a teacher for 20+ years. So to sign her name rather then print it was a huge turning point. I am wondering if the drug could be that effective in one day, or maybe she is just more confident now in her own abilities. Any one out there with Parkinson's or a relative with this disease feel free to fill me in.

A few pet snaps to brighten a rather rambling and awkward post.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Leap Forward

Just a quickie update on the progress of the gymnast cross-stitch, Anastasia Grishina of Russia.

Since it is National Chocolate Chip Day (according to the Food Network Site) I baked these very easy Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies. Just a store-bought banana cake mix, with two eggs and 1/2 cup of oil. Then add chopped walnuts and chocolate chips. Mix thoroughly and drop tablespoon-sized blobs on a cookie sheet. Bake 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.

My dear friend Karena stopped by today with her daughter, one of my gymnasts, Allie. They brought me this beautiful card and some lovely flowers and delicious strawberries straight from their garden. Karena has been my friend for about three years, but it feels like I have known her all my life. There is a special bond that goes beyond our passion for gymnastics. She always knows exactly the right time to call or e-mail me and has just the perfect thing to say to brighten my day. I don't know what I would have done without her love and support these past few months. Thanks Karena!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Barking Up The Wrong Tree

All of my cats are pretty well-behaved, as cats go. They are "trainable". Actually they have trained me to accept whatever they do as correct behavior. They don't poo in the potted plants, they don't fight with eachother (much), they don't howl at all hours of the night (although I love the sound of their voices anytime). They pretty much stay within the boundaries of the yard and the designated areas of the back field. I've lost too many beloved cats on this street. There isn't much traffic here but the dozen or so cars that do go by each day seem to think this is a drag strip designed to test the speedometer capacity of their vehicles. Of all the cats my one and only orange kitty (first ever orange kitty too) Carmella tests the limits of the boundaries most frequently. There are times when I call and call for her; rattle the cat food tin and no response for nearly an hour. Just where is it that she's getting too? Not the barn or the shed. Not under the car or the patio chairs. Not in the field or God forbid, in the street. Here she is. This seems to be her new hang-out. The oldest, largest tree in the yard. Conveniently located next to a prime bird feeder for an excellent view of the "catch". Elliot takes a less subtle approach.
Well, I haven't been barking up the cross-stitch tree much either! Still obsessed with socks. Round and round I go and my next start will be pair #20

Two weeks ago I was glued to the computer following the Gymnastics European Championships. I was quite pleased with the results, especially of these two cute little Russians from the Junior squad. Anastasia Grishina and Viktoria Komova. I remember seeing Viktoria's mother compete back in the day..........1983 USA vs. USSR competition. Here is my near-finish of my latest gymnastics design, Grishina in a split leap during her Floor Exercise routine. She won a gold medal on this event at Europeans. Next up is British Champion Beth Tweddle.

The sun is shining and it's nearly 80 degrees F. The storms are rolling in though, so it's outside for a few more hours of stitching or knitting or just watching the cats lounge around.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Thank You Mother Nature!

I've had friends tell me lately that they are feeling God moving in their lives. Some through people returning from their past, others through certain positive events in the jobs or personal lives. In my case I am seeing God's work through Nature. I have never put much value (and even moreso in the past months) in the "artificial world". You know, those things conjured up through greed and publicity and egotism. I held out hope that I would soon see an outward sign that my patience would be rewarded. And now I see it! Everywhere throughout my yard things are blooming and growing and moving forward with Life, despite the heavy burden of that artifical world. For some reason things seem greener this year; brighter, more healthy. Plants that have lay dorment for years are suddenly re-blooming without any help from me at all! There are colors of irises that I thought were long-gone. My treasured gift from my gymnasts, the azalea bush, is in rare form this Spring. The tulips put on a display that I haven't seen since they were first planted over 10 years ago.
Something is moving, awakening and it's telling me to do the same. All this time of idleness, of anger, of stress has to be left behind. What a waste it has been. There is a stack of letters that need to be answered. All the dolls could have had complete new wardrobes by now. There has been time enough to make each and every one of my friends a cross-stitch gift and a pair of socks. Time to finish painting this room, to fix the front fence, to lose some pounds and get in shape again. I've wasted it all. Did I think I was achieving some sort of "victory" by wallowing in my self-pity? Was I proving some sort of bizarre point by closing myself away? The plants and the flowers are telling me otherwise. They are telling me to get up off my roots and bloom!