Monday, May 30, 2011

A Long Overdue Update

Yeah, this month has definitely been the roller coaster to end all roller coasters. I got my framed MTM back on Thursday, May 5th, and was basking in the glow of my accomplishment on that, when I then had to rush to Ohio, but not in time to see my dad before he passed away. So, that was a long, strange week, where I got to see lots of people that I needed to see - friends and family, some of whom I haven't seen in 28 years, if you can believe that! So while the circumstances of my being there were pretty awful, it was also a little rejuvenating to reconnect with people that I have missed over the years.

And then I had to rush right back to Georgia, in order to try to get the house ready to receive people for my oldest son's graduation on Monday the 23rd. We had lots of family in - both grandmothers were here, and 2 of the 4 aunts were here, which is pretty good, considering we are so far away from everyone. I was mid-clean when the first guests arrived - thanks to the boss for letting me have that Friday off to get stuff done - but I got it as close as it's going to get without a LOT of paint and/or a wrecking ball :)

Lots of good things to eat, the kid got some cash AND a new-to-him '91 Mazda Miata convertible - now all he needs is a driver's license, so he can drive himself to work - but who has time for that? He's been working so much, enjoying his life guard duties, and hasn't had time for things like driving when his dad or I have time, so...?

As for stitching the last few weeks, there has been some, including a new START and a FINISH!!

I managed to finish another of the blackwork chickens that I am doing for Loretta's, where my local group meets every month. I didn't realize it until I finished that one that the bottom of the design is just these two flipped & reversed - I'm sure I'll find the easier path the 2nd time though each one :)

And then, I had an impulse start when I received the kit for a new Mystery SAL, Birds of a Feather by Country Stitches/With They Needle & Thread. I have to say that the WDW floss that came with this are a LOT nicer than those that I stitched 6 Bats with, so I might have to retract my earlier comments on them, in that they have obviously changed their process in that time. This is a 3-part mystery, and the border is part 1 - this is where I currently am on it, on the 35ct WDW Confederate Grey linen:

I also did a bit of work on Knotgarden right after my last update, and finished up that side that I almost had done - not a lot, but I also knew then I'd have to work on something else for a bit, before continuing on with that. Here's where it stands right now:

And the something else that I seemed to work on the most was Starry Nights, which is now DONE!!!!!! I had actually taken a photo somewhere along the way between then and now, and then just never got around to updating - since there wasn't anything update-worthy, really, and I wasn't ready to say anything about my dad. That photo is here, if interested. And here it is, a week later, DONE!!! And the chart & left over threads are packaged up and ready to go to Dr. Stephanie, the chart that originally came to me from Lori.

And that's really all I've done since the last time I updated. BUT, while I was up in Ohio, I managed to get a picture of the TW Noah's Ark that I did for my sister Anne years ago:

And also, the very first piece of needlework I ever really did, crewel, I got back from my dad's house, where it had hung in his office since I gave it to him in 1983 or 84, after Cheryl harped and harped on me to get it done:

And with that, I am going to go kick back and relax and enjoy the rest of this Memorial Day holiday, grilling later, probably stitching on something. Back to the ol' grind tomorrow :( This working thing is really cutting into my leisure time...

Memorial Day, May 30, 2011

This Memorial Day has a quite a bit more meaning to me this year. Usually a day that I pay silent homage to heroes past and present, who fought and died to allow this country to be the finest on earth, in recent weeks it has also become a day to think of those I have personally lost, which, thankfully, have been few, but key.

For those that have noticed my lack of posting this month, that was primarily due to the unexpected passing of my father, Eric Einar Williams. He had been struggling with pulmonary fibrosis for some time, but was managing it. Until he injured his back, requiring surgery; things seemed to decline after that event.

So I was on my way to Ohio to see my dad, planning to leave on Saturday morning, the 7th of May; but before I was even up and ready to get moving, I got the call from my sister Anne. He was gone. But he knew I was on my way, so I have to be satisfied with that, and with the fact that I didn't see how bad it was at the end, unlike my sisters, who will have those memories to live with.

My father was a hard man to explain; I didn't see him the same way my sisters and brother did, when he was still married to our mother. There was a time, when I was small, that my parents were still married, but my sisters were leaving the house, and then "the Divorce" happened, and a lot of those years are gone from my memory (probably a good thing). But I did get my dad back later, when he was married to Cheryl, after my brother died, when he was retiring from teaching.

My father was a lifelong teacher, as were both of his parents. He instilled in all of us a thirst for knowledge, and especially my love of history. He was a photographer extraordinaire, who gave me a deep appreciation for the inanimate object (he had an album dedicated solely to his hot sauce collection - not to mention the Foot Album). He was an Airman in the USAF from September 1950 to September 1954, serving in Libya and at Hickham Field in Hawaii, working on radio equipment. He took me to the Dayton Air show often, and even more often, to the Air Force Museum, where I was even so lucky as to hear one of the Doolittle Raiders speak one night. So really, I guess it's no surprise when I followed in his footsteps and enlisted, too. My father did fail to mention, though, ever, that I did outrank him - he was an A1C when he got out, and I was a Sgt - probably a dynamic that our relationship did NOT need :) Besides, we had the good Colonel Williams, USAR, to give us our needed grief for joining - his words, not mine - "the wimp corp".

My dad was a lot of things to a lot of people - teacher, mentor, the man behind the camera, the Disciplinarian, jailer, King of Soup, the guy Clint Eastwood took all his cues from. I like to think of him as Dirty Harry Callahan, PhD, or Professor Man With No Name. He was NOT Ward Cleaver, by any stretch of the imagination, which is part of why it's so hard to sum up a life such as his, and why there will always be unresolved issues for me and my siblings.
Eric Einar WIlliams - 28 November 1929 - 7 May 2011

And while I was saying goodbye to my father, I visited my brother, whose death 29 years ago affected all of our lives, and set things in motion that I still think affect my day-to-day life. I hate that my kids didn't get to know their Uncle Eric, and I hate that, since I was just a kid at the time, too, that he and I didn't get the chance to be friends - we were still rivals, though since he was Mr. Uber-Genius and well, I wasn't, I'm not sure what the issue was :) His life - and it's tragic end - are what make me afraid for my kids, because you just never know, and it doesn't matter if you have the world in your hands, it can be gone in an instant. The lesson for those of us who remain is to not forget, and not to blame, and most importantly, to move on in a positive manner, even if you don't want to.
Eric Einar Williams II - 13 January 1961 - 30 June 1982

But back to the greater meaning of today, which is to remember those who have risked and/or sacrificed life and limb in service to this country - several of which I have already mentioned, but for the Williams family, also include my cousin Nevin and my nephew Daniel, who was a 3rd generation AF grunt :)

Arlington National Cemetery, where you will find my dad's cousin, Col. David Hackworth.

In Flanders Fields, by Moina Michael:
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

So to everyone who has served, or is currently serving, I thank you on the behalf of the American people, and others everywhere. I wish for peace, and hope we can bring home our brothers and sisters from all of the places they are currently deployed.

Monday, May 02, 2011

May Already??? An Update

Holy cow did April just fly past! And this past week was just uber-hectic, what with devastating storms all around, appointments to get taken care of by the end of the month, Dumb Dog to the vet for an ear infection that put a big wrench into everything. Now if I can just get through this graduation on the 23rd, I might be able to get a breather - my 25th reunion is on July 30th, but if gas continues to rise, I won't be able to go :(

So of course I watched the wedding Friday, though I did have to watch the rebroadcast - I didn't DVR it, and I don't do 4 a.m., ever. It was great to watch, though I still have to wonder what Beatrice was thinking... Loved the horses and all of the pageantry, and thought Wills & Harry were both very handsome :) The Dress was gorgeous of course, if you go in for that kind of thing (have yet to wear one myself, so not really my cup o' tea, so to speak). The music was wonderful - I can only imagine what the Chamber Orchestra actually sounded like in that magnificent building!

On to the week's stitching...

On Monday, I kept Chat out for a bit longer, and put in a couple of yards of black. Gave him a little something to rest those eyes on :)

On Tuesday, I got out Knotgarden, and worked all through the week on it. I have come to the conclusion that I will NOT be able to work on just it until it is done - I can devote a lot of time to it, yes, but I will have to break up the monotony here & there, because the outsides ARE monotonous... But the top should be done in pretty short order this week, then down the left side. You can look at the Before photo here to see where it was when I last abandoned it...

Saturday, I had a lot of stuff that I needed to do - and got some of it done, some not. I needed a break from Knotgarden, so I got out Starry Nights, and got the bottom right corner pretty well done. I am going to have to go get yet another skein of 791 - have gone through one whole, and what felt like pretty darn close to a full one on a bobbin - but I did have to rip some out way back near the beginning somewhere, but I didn't think it was that much...? Anyway, I got a good section done - I really love working on this project, so though I want to get it done, I want to make it last, too, even though I know Rainforest Crunch is sitting out there in the drawer, patiently waiting...

No progress on Tanglewood this week, or anything else. The Start Me's are being quiet for the time being - I am definitely in Get It Done mode... My Medieval Town is DONE!!! and making its way back to me from Jill Rensel - you can see a picture of it on her blog here, along with some other amazing works, but I will of course take another when I get it :) I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE IT!!!!!! And Lyne's Wedding Sampler is on its way to her now, too!

This week, I will work on Knotgarden some more (I put it back on the stand after taking the picture last night), but I have a feeling I will have to break it up with something before I turn that corner... We'll see what screams loudest, I guess. NOW that I have my first pair of reading glasses, I probably ought to get L&U out for a couple of days, see how my specs work on that - I needed them for Chat on Monday, but didn't need them for Knotgarden or Starry - charts are bigger than Chat, which I know is about the same size as L&U. My eyes feel better with the glasses, so I guess I've been straining them longer than I should have. hey, I've been too busy for things like eye appointments lately... So really, I am, again, not real sure what I'll work on - check back next Monday :) Happy Stitching this week to everyone!