A new take on Genealogy

My religion focuses a lot on connecting family eternally. Knowing who your ancestors are and sharing those stories with future generations.

Lots of family trees and collecting stories from the past. This year, I’m also focusing on leaving a record for the future. I signed up for a memoir writing class and procrastinated actually doing the classes before they expired.

However, this year one of my goals is to leave a record for my descendants. It’s also a good way to heal from past hurts. So once a month, I’ll be sharing my writing prompt for the month. I would love to have you join me and share your stories.

That said, this month’s prompt is talk about your teenage friends.

Who are they? What did you do with them? Are you still in touch? Why or why not? How did you meet them? What is your favorite memory of them? What is your biggest regret about them? What brings you shame when you think on that time?

I’ll post my story at the end of the month.

Squirrel Weekend?

I’ve spent my life chasing multitasking squirrels. In school my oldest and youngest children were referred for ADHD testing. I looked at the teachers and explained, the kids had tested negative, it is Mom who has issues. This means I have a tendency to jump from idea to idea and project to project with no rhyme or reason. Oh, hey, look it’s shiny….

In the last year, I completed coaching certification. I completed my Competent Communicator award from Toastmasters International (and competed in a speech competition). I took my dream vacation and rode the Carson County Carousel. And I got the offer to move to Georgia or find a new job. In April, my employment ends (with a possible extension to July). Squirrel?

This weekend I attended my very first writing conference. I learned a lot about the business of writing, didn’t ask “tell me more” from other attendees as often as I should have, dug out the 3 files of stories that I have stored in the cloud and realized there is only 1 page on each of them. I loved being at the conference even though I spent the weekend wondering what I was doing there and how it applied to me. The high point was meeting Richard Paul Evans and hearing about his writing process and his marketing process before Christmas Box became a best seller. I also got a great idea for a short, twisted, speculative fiction story from Stephanie Mabey (okay not from her but from one of her songs). But for some reason, I feel this entire weekend was chasing a shiny squirrel.

If I catch the squirrel, will it all make sense and come to a sensible conclusion? Even if it doesn’t, it has started some great conversations with my middle son (who loaned me a copy of his Neil Gaiman short story book) and I have an appointment with my oldest to attend the League of Utah Writers in February. I wonder if I will catch the squirrel there.


What’s wrong with this picture? 

When I was 13, I wanted brand new skis for Christmas.  I discovered freestyle ballet the year before and wanted shorter skis.  My brother discovered moguls and wanted skis for that.  We both got new skis.  The day after Christmas the family went sledding.  We had steel runner sleds on a closed road.  There was an S curve in the road following the steepest hill. I made the first curve and hit a tree when I didn’t make the second turn.  The tree was actually a good thing since it kept me from going over a precipice into a creek.  I ended up with a fractured tibia, fibula, displaced kneecap, and spiral fracture of the femur.  The femur fracture resulted in the placement of 3 screws (with washers).  I never did use the new skis.  My brother became an alternate for the US Olympic Freestyle team going to Calgary when freestyle was an exhibition sport.

Fast forward 7 years, and I’ve got a lump in my knee that really hurts when it gets bumped.  Turns out one of the screws is working its way out of the bone.  I schedule surgery between Spring and Summer semesters.  They remove the screws but leave the washers. It’s supposed to be an outpatient surgery on Thursday.  Friday afternoon when I finally wake up in the hospital, the anesthesiologist tells me to warn future anesthesiologists that I’m a redhead.  As for recovery, Sunday after surgery I drove 45 minutes from Holladay to Provo so I could start classes on Monday.  I vaguely remember being on crutches for 3 weeks and I don’t remember any physical therapy.

So here we are many years later and one of the washers has broken loose and has moved to where it jammed my knee open at least twice.  Tomorrow I go in for surgery to remove all three washers (maybe) depending on how deep in the bone they are buried.

This leads me to some side behaviors that have come to light because of this event.  When I was given the choice of surgery dates I took the day before Thanksgiving since it was the least disruptive. However, this meant I was not going to be able to cook Thanksgiving dinner.  I asked my husband to cook Thanksgiving.  He’s a chef.  I was thinking something really cool would be on the menu, instead he started talking about open face turkey sandwiches and I unconsciously started wanting to do things my way.  Without thinking, I kept making remarks which showed I wanted control of dinner.  As many times as I preach delegation without micromanagement to my coaching clients, I was failing miserably.  I apologized to my husband and I have stepped back.

The other thing was a challenge I gave another coaching client.  She has so much going on and I challenged her to say yes to the next three people who offered her help.  My sister called tonight and asked if she could help me with anything post surgery.  My first inclination was to say no, but then I remembered the challenge I gave.  I accepted not only dinner but asked if she could find the water chestnuts that seem to be sold out at the stores around me.

It was fun to have what I share with others apply to me. I’m glad I recognized it though.

Finally a finish….and a contest.

I have friends who would say this is not finished because it doesn’t have a name and a label.
I created this quilt from the blocks in a beginning quilt class and it’s made for my son, J, who is on an LDS mission in St. Louis, MO. He wanted Red and Blue but not something patriotic which is why I went with a black background.  I need suggestions for names – I’m thinking about giving a prize for the name I select… Leave your name suggestions in the comments.


I love how many of the blocks have scriptural references.  The center block is known as Tree of Life, the house block has been nicknamed by my classmates – the wiseman’s house because it’s built upon the rock, the teacher said that a log cabin block with a black center stands for freedom from slavery which is what the gospel truth does to a tortured soul, The bottom center block is an anvil which is appropriate for the summer that J was an apprentice to a blacksmith. IMG_9496You can definitely see the relation of the block to the anvil he worked with.  He looks so young in that picture too.

This is what Elder Bates looks like in Missouri – James

So if you see him on the street with his black and white name tag- Ask to see his quilt.  Especially if you gave me the winning name!

Have you thought about a personal history?

I’ve been feeling like I should write more.  I used to write quite frequently (according to my archives). In an attempt to find more topics, I found a great little books of writing prompts.  Looking through them, not only may they be interesting but they could provide a way to leave a personal history for my children and grandchildren.
I know that many of my ancestors kept journals and I’m not sure what happened to them but sometimes I wish I had access to them just to know what life was like in that day.  What did they think about?  I have a few stories that I asked my grandmother and great grandmother but as I get older, the questions change and they aren’t  around to ask.

I’ve been told that one of my great grandmothers journals was mainly to do lists and grocery lists and budgets.  That still would be an interesting look at her life and a historical record.  So often we think that what the future wants to know about is the exciting things that happen but not all of life is exciting.  So much of life is what happens between adventures.

So how do you live between the adventures and with whom do you share that information?

St Patrick’s Day Puppies


I have no clue what they got into but they were most definitely Green!!!

It’s Wednesday!! Here is the WIP for this week.

Back in 1996 I really liked the work of a designer whose work was published by Just Cross Stitch. I started buying everything that I could of Teresa Wentzler and another Just Cross Stitch designer, Cathy Livingston. My Sister in Law saw my collection of patterns and asked me to stitch the Fruit Bellpull for her. She bought all the supplies exactly the way they were listed in the pattern. I started working on it and then got sidetracked.  I had been making hand stitched ornaments for her and one Christmas when I went to deliver it and the presents for my niece and nephew, she couldn’t be bothered to come receive her present. So I stopped stitching for her.

Fast forward and I haven’t seen or spoken to her in over a decade and I have a nephew I’ve seen once from a distance at a funeral. I don’t know his name – I think it’s Bjorn. Anyway, with that history I had no reason to work on the Fruit Bell Pull. However, two summers ago I repainted my TV room and it’s about the same color as the bone Brittney on the bellpull so I now have a place on my wall that I could hang it so it’s time to work on it again. This is what it looked like at the end of 2013.

And this is what it looks like tonight.


So I have a bit of back-stitching and the border and I’ll be ready to work on the next block. Back in 1996, I planned on changing the order of the blocks and doing it peaches/grapes/apples/plums/pears/cherries instead of the original pattern pictured below.

In the intervening years, I’ve begun to understand the importance of weighting a design at the bottom with darker colors.  If I stitched this the way it was originally designed, it would be the first piece in years that I’ve done exactly as charted, with the supplies as recommended.  I’m not sure I can handle that.  Maybe I should add some beads? Or I could swap the pears and plums as I originally planned.  I’m just not sure how I want to do it…

Well it all started when he found an amplifier…

See DH found a great ad for an early 1970’s Technics amplifier and when he went to pick it up, the man practically forced us to take a faux Stickley chair that his dog had chewed up the arm on…Well as DH was repairing the arm, he kept missing our Darwin who passed due to cancer in September. He had said he didn’t want to go puppy shopping until spring since training in the winter is not easy. But fixing the chewed on arm led to visiting the Pets section of the classifieds and looking at beagles. Christmas puppies start showing up the first week of January and there were two beagles in the county south of us. We called on both and decided to check out the one furthest away. We had trouble at the ATM and couldn’t get any cash and I knew that one of the couples wouldn’t take a check but we pressed on south. There we found our Jach. He was 11 weeks old and their baby was horribly allergic to him. While we were deciding, the baby woke up and the father used Go-Jo to clean all the skin showing, changed his shirt and then fixed the baby bottle. I knew we had to take the puppy if only to save that family. This couple was willing to take a check and we took Jach, his crate, his toys and a bag of dog food.

Then we went to look at the 2nd dog. Now I should tell you, my daughter is a zookeeper and we have yet to meet an animal that doesn’t love her (except the Swans but that’s another story) or love her father. This 2nd beagle was supposedly the same age as Jach but looked a good 4-5 weeks older and growled at all of us – even DH and L. Jach took one look at him and bolted for the car. We thanked the people for letting us look at him explained we didn’t have any cash after getting Jach and we would be in touch but we knew we didn’t want it in our house and we wouldn’t be back.

And DH keeps cruising the classifieds because beagles belong in a brace. They are pack animals and want to be together. He keeps showing me pictures of a cute female but I don’t do female dogs. After all, I’m the only b**ch allowed in this pack. He points out how she looks so similar to Jach and Bo would work as a girl’s name. So I tell him if he wants to buy her he has to make the call, I’m not doing this one. He calls and leaves a message for the owner.

A few days pass and the owner calls back. She says that the parents are champions and the little girl was the first of the litter sold but had to be returned since the buyer’s housing fell through. He asked if the price was fixed or if there was room for negotiation. She said it could be negotiated for the right family and would he tell her about us. He told her how we had always had dogs and had lost our beagle in September after 12 years. We had recently picked up a male beagle pup in Spanish Fork and he was 12 weeks that day and we wanted to get him a companion. She surprised us and said, “You got him from a family where the baby is allergic?” DH said, “Yes, how did you know?” She says, “My husband talked to L about the medical records, this is his sister from the litter.” She immediately gave us 15% off the price and made us promise to get one spayed or neutered as soon as possible to prevent issues.

So we have our brace of beagles and they’re siblings like we wanted except we have a boy and a girl instead of a set of brothers but they’re still adorable and we love them and they play well together.

Jach and Bo on her first day home with us.

Jach and Bo on her first day home with us.

It’s so good to have a dog in the house again.

First Wednesday WIP for 2014

So I got off to a great start for my stitching this year.  I’ve done something every day this year which is a new record.  On New Year’s Day, I finished off an ornament which I have promised to make for a neighbor as part of a service auction.


This is Homespun Elegance’s Majestic Bird from the Just CrossStitch Christmas ornament edition.  After finishing this, I started working on probably the oldest WIP in my stash.

This was in my grandma’s sewing room when my aunt and I cleaned it out.  From the paperwork with it, the kit was first published in 1943 and from the price of $6.95 was probably purchased toward the end of the 40’s or start of the 50’s.  If she started it as soon as she bought it which was her habit, then it would mean, in all likelihood, this WIP is a good 15 years older than I am.

Now the kit should include (according to the paperwork) the brass hardware, the lining, the front, back and side petit point canvases and instructions.  I have everything but the canvas for the back.  I called Plaid which acquired Bucilla in the 1990’s and their suggestion was to buy a 14 count canvas to replace the back piece.  My husband’s suggestion was to buy a piece of black satin and use that for the back.  He’s worried that I will lose interest in it before finishing all three pieces and I can see his concern.  I’m at 6 hours of work now and starting to want it finished.Image

But then, this is what it looks like right now….and I really think I could finish the frontispiece in the 4 hours I have left in this rotation slot which makes it highly unlikely that I’m going to want to mark a piece of canvas and tent stitch the whole thing in black, it’s going to be boring enough doing the center band.  I own black velvet in my stash so all I would need would be some interfacing to stiffen it up so that it would work around the lining pieces.

So this is where I am right now. So just out of curiosity, if you had this piece – how would you do it?  Would you do the whole thing in needlepoint?  Would you just finish the frontispiece and do either a satin or velvet back?  if you did a different back would you do the petit point side piece or just do that in the same material as the back so as to highlight the petit point piece?   We’ll see how I feel after 4 more hours…

No WIP updates this week…

Yep, there is no WIP update this week. Mainly because I was having Mommy Angst with the Last First Day of School. Yes, my baby started his senior year of school and I’m having those – How did he grow up so fast? He was so tiny (my runt at 8′ 3″)? Where did the time go? How did I get this old? And the realization I never made him a baby sampler!
Unlike the other kids though, he got his own baby quilt which is now boxed away since it’s nothing but 2 pieces of worn out fabric. The stuffing is gone and when held up the once heavy cotton is now sheer.
He was about 8 when he agreed to box it up to save for later. We may take it out of the box when he goes away to college next year. At least, he’s asked if we can or could he at least take the box to school?