Saturday, October 5, 2013

Thoughts of home

We were supposed to get first frost last night. It didn’t come, but the tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins and squash are safely in the garage anyway.

I got up this morning to a beautiful mist laying over the land. It is thick enough to the north that our customary view of the Columbia River is obscured. Disappointing in a way and yet it gives the landscape an ethereal and mysterious quality. It also make me very happy to be snug in my comfortable home.
While CJE and Liam sleep in this Saturday morning, I am taking a moment to pause and tally up a few of the changes we have wrought since we moved in six months ago. There is still a great deal to be done, but I like to think we have made a dent.

The 7-9-10+ foot jupiter hedge between us and the river is a bit more contained at about six feet. It is still five or six feet deep, but I can easily see the water from the windows of the front room and from the comfortable chairs on the deck. At least I can when the mist hasn’t crept in.

    A side note about jupiter. When CJE was in the midst of trimming the juniper hedge, he asked our son, Liam (who’s six), to help him by hauling away the trimmings in his little red wagon. Mid-way through the hauling, Liam was sneezing and coughing and he came up to Chris and said: “Dad, I’m allergic to jupiter.” Trying very hard not to laugh, Dad told him: “OK. Well, we won’t send you there then.” From that point juniper will always be known as jupiter in our little family.

The nasty 12 foot arborvitae flanking the entryway are gone. Thanks to some dear friends who came down for a mini working vacation. The bushes were so overgrown and full of bugs. They nearly blocked the entryway completely. Removing them really opened up the porch and enabled me to see the river from my kitchen window. At least I can when the mist hasn’t crept in.

The dark and dirty little cave of a bathroom is gone. In its place is a well-lit, brightly-painted bathroom with handy features like a towel bar and a light over the vanity.

The enormous (and overwhelming) red wall in the front room is gone. In its place is a wonderful soft green (pollywog) wall that we have found the more we live with the more we like. Instead of an abrupt and harsh frame for the view, we have a lovely shade of green that seems more like a continuation of the outside world. Oh, it is very nice.
These are just a few of the ways in which we are slowly but surely making this house our home. I am excited by the images in my mind of the changes another six months will bring.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

for Mom/from Mom

My mother died a couple weeks ago after battling lung cancer for several months. I can honestly say I believe she was ready to be done with her mortal coil. Dad passed away five years ago, and Mom missed him so very much. In the end, the confident knowledge the two of them would be reunited in Heaven enabled her to slip peacefully away.

Mom was a strong confident woman. She approached life with a head-on, can-do, no-nonsense attitude and expected everyone else to do the same. As a general rule she was pretty visibly disappointed when/if they didn’t.

Mom had very clear ideas about personal responsibility and behavior. Lessons from Mom were absorbed by her four daughters in ways that worked best for each of us. How my mother ever managed to raise the four such very different personalities that my sisters and I represent is nothing short of miraculous. Some of us had to be more of a challenge for her than others, but Mom was adept at giving us the space to be just who we were and still give us the grounding and sensibilities in her eyes we needed to have.

Mom never accepted “I can’t” as reason for not doing something. Each of us jolly well could and she made damn sure we knew it every second of every day.

My mom’s legacy is a fascinating conglomeration.

When I stand out in my garden surrounded by vegetables, flowers, weeds and all manner of growing things I can easily say . . . this is my legacy from Mom. I can remember when we were young every spring when it came time to start planting, she would have us each select three or four different vegetables which would be “ours” that year to nurture all the way from seed to jar. In this manner we learned how to plant, grow, harvest and process all different sorts of fruits and vegetables. Thank you, Mom.

Then, when I sit down in my craft room, I thank the mother who raised me and taught me how to do all these amazing things. Thanks to Mom:
    I can follow a pattern to make clothing and adjust said pattern to fit.
    I design my own fabric creations and bring them to fruition.
    I take quilts from the design stage all the way to completion/ready to go on a bed.
    I do everything from sewing a simple seam to many more complicated techniques and I know how to use a seam ripper.
    I am capable of both hand embroidery and crochet. (Sorry, Mom, I never could embrace knitting the way you did.)
These are just a small taste of the many, many things our mother taught all four of us girls.

During the course of an average day I can stop myself dozens of times and say: “Thanks Mom.” Thanks for showing me how to do this or that and sometimes even for just making me believe I could even if I didn’t know how. More than anything else, Mom believed in imagination. She believed: If you could imagine it, you could do it.

I think that’s it really.

Mom’s legacy is my inherent belief in myself. The belief that I am capable of tackling just about any project, thought or idea and figuring out a way to bring it to fruition.

Thanks Mom.