Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I spy with my little eye....

...a quilt that's finished! This I Spy quilt is my first bigger sized quilt. I've learned a lot about quilting while making it. I've definitely got the quilting bug! I'm working on a second quilt (just for fun using lots of PINKS because I can) and I might just make a quilt for our bed too!

I'm looking at the photos of the quilt and you can't see any of the mistakes in it, unless it's right under your nose. The binding (the border) was machine stitched on the front but hand stitched on the back so I spent a lot of evenings with it. I wanted the framing of the squares to be neutral since the blocks already had so many colours in them. I worried it looked too dark for a kid's quilt, but the colours definitely POP!

It's square and not meant for his crib. I just like the way it drapes

 When Alex first saw it the first thing he noticed was "APPLE!". He's since noticed the mittens and "full" cup of hot chocolate as well. Fun!
(The colours are more accurate in the first photo,
hard to take a picture of it without
 a clothesline or fence to hang it on like all the quilting bloggers do)

It's already been put to the Kitty Tackle test!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Motherless part 2: On how she died

This is a hard one to write but it's been nagging me for a while. I need to get it off my chest, and maybe make some sense of what happened. It's important to note that this was over 20 years ago and it's being retold from the perspective of a not-fully-formed 14 year old brain.
Here's what I remember:

In October of 1988 my mom collapsed at work. She worked as a nurse so they immediately sent her for a CAT scan just to make sure everything was alright. They found a tumor. They suspect she had a stroke and that's why she fell. I remember being terrified when I found out. I didn't know what to think. She came home right away. Gosh, I have a big blank in my memory from that point until she had brain surgery.

January '89 my mom had the brain surgery. It was right before I went back to school after the Christmas break. What was that Christmas like? Maybe my lurking sister can help me out :)

My mom was in the hospital for maybe a week. I remember being nervous going to see her. She had her head in a bandage but otherwise seemed like herself. It was a relief. She came home and I got to see the scar. It was large, like a big question mark on the side of her head, above her ear. She had no hair. They had shaved her entire head.She had an indent where they had removed part of her skull (but they couldn't put back after). It still makes me shudder to think about it. I remember my uncle gave her two cotton turbans for her head. One blue and one pink. Colours she didn't normally wear. She was a red head and thought that she could only wear rusts, browns and oranges.

In February she started radiation therapy. I remember going with her to the hospital on a day off from school. They put giant X's on her head to mark where to uh...zap her. I thought the X's were funny. Like someone had doodled on her head. She did that for about a week. Her stubble that had grown in started to fall out. Everywhere. We would find her hair in everything. She seemed weak. She was at home all day. Not back at work. She got two wigs. One curly and one straight. I liked the straight one better, even though her natural hair was thick and wavy.

She was having seizures still. Small ones though. She would stop talking and zone out, but then snap out of it a minute later. My mom seemed tired and had a lot of headaches. Something of her personality changed. I can't quite put my finger on it. She didn't laugh as much (understandably!). Her laugh was such a big part of her. My aunt recently told my sister and I this story about my mom laughing. Mom, auntie Lynn and Gail (who was briefly an aunt) went to a funeral. They had been laughing about something on the way there. My mom laughed so hard she peed herself. Typical mom *shaking my head and chuckling to myself*. The other two had to sandwich my mom everywhere they went to hide the wet.

At the beginning of December she started to lose her balance all the time. She went back into the hospital. I still had no clue that this tumor was cancer. I only found out later, much later. When I was an adult. I know she was already in the hospital on the 6th of December. I know that because of the panic I felt when I heard there was a gunman in the area near the hospital. There was a shooting. It turned out to be at the Universite de Montreal. Fourteen women were killed. You can read about the massacre here. It has nothing to do with my mother, but I find it hard to separate the two events.

At some point, the bit of information that I did get was that her tumor had returned. There were five of them. In a different place on her brain. Not where they removed the tumor.

Her friend Linda took me to see her on December 19th. My dad's birthday. We went to Baskin and Robbins beforehand and snuck (sneaked?) ice cream into the hospital. Pralines and Cream. My mom was all bruised on her arms from being manhandled from the orderlies. She was paralysed from the waist down. She told me she was being moved to the hospital where she worked. Linda was also a nurse there. She said she and all of my mom's friends would take good care of her. This sounded like a good idea. I thought I'd be able to visit her more often since her work was a lot closer to our house. My dad told us we had a meeting with a psychologist on the friday. It was a tuesday. My mom's speech was slurred. She didn't seem like herself at all. I remember being reluctant to kiss her goodbye. This part still eats away at me, even though I didn't know. Didn't know she was dying. Didn't know this would be the last time I would see her.

On the Thursday, December 21st, she died. We were in the basement watching TV. The Cosby show. I was eating Fruit Loops out of the box. My dad answered the phone. He got off the phone and he told us. My sister let out a horrible stunted noise. Like a yelp. I felt like a lead weight had dropped into my chest where my heart had been. I was in shock. My aunt and uncle came by and told us what her last moments were like. She was waiting for the ambulance to be transferred to her hospital. It never came. My aunt later told me the staff knew it wasn't long for her, so the ambulance wasn't ordered. I guess it gave her something to look forward to. She was laughing about the ice cream when she died. Laughing.

What I now know:
We think that it was my grandmother's idea not to tell my sister and I that my mom was dying. My dad went along with it. We have no clue if my mom knew about it. My sister was 20 and I was 14. Not infants. Not too young that we didn't understand death. We were cheated. Of all the goodbyes and closure. It was like she was in a car accident. It felt very sudden to me. My aunt and uncle told us that they were there with her everyday for weeks at the end. They thought my sister and I were acting strange but they thought it was shock. They had no clue that we didn't know she was dying.

To further prevent closure, my dad went with my grandparents to the lake where they used to have a cottage. They scattered my mom's ashes there. I found out when I got home from school and noticed the ashes were missing. Cheated. Again.
Nineteen years later we got a bit of closure. My aunt and uncle took us to the lake, to where my mom's ashes were. They were in town for my grandmother's funeral. My mom's mom. She died at the ripe old age of 91. My mother was 46 when she died. They think her ashes were scattered overlooking the lake, at the base of the tree that she spent childhood summers. She would sit and read at that tree. My grandparents sold the house when she was a teenager.

Mom's resting place. Pretty isn't it?

The only photo I have of my mom and me.
Wow it's like looking at Alex with a Holly Hobbie housecoat on.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Winter, the tribe has spoken....

Yet another blizzard, and yet another toddler illness. I am sooo done with winter. Alex has a double ear infection and a cough that's lingered for almost a month now. Oh the boogers and the whining and the not sleeping. Poor chicken is so tired and fed up too, he had his first full on temper tantrum on the way to the doctor's office on Tuesday. I struggled to get on the bus with the stroller and the banchee kicking and screaming in my arms, as I had to lift my 30 lbs stroller up and over the snowbank to get on the bus. Fun. Oh and as a PSA, don't stare at the woman with the freaking out toddler. That doesn't help anyone!

Alex and I are both summer babies. We'll be much happier when the snow melts.
Despite all this, Alex has had moments of being very sweet. He surprises me every day with new words. Words that I had no idea were swimming around in that head of his. Moose, ostrich, kite, oatmeal (he'll say it but then doesn't want to eat it,,,somethings don't change). His personality seems to be emerging. He likes arranging things or lining them up. He seems to have a sense of humour. He likes drawing and painting, and he's a ninja with the shape sorter. He's continuously spinning, falling down and spinning again as I write this.

He's a funny little bird.

Cut up pancake yuck. Whole pancake with Mama's fork. Yummy!

He likes pressing all the buttons. I just need to teach him how to use it.
My First Sweat Shop.

I went to get him out of his bed and found he had been redecorating.
(Those pathetic stickers are all that remains of a wall full of animal decals we had put up when he was born)

Teddy bear time out?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hand Sanitizer is my friend

It feels like forever since I've written a post. Alex has been sick, off and on since, oh about New Year's Eve. Sigh. Stomach flu three times, then a nasty cold with a still lingering cough. I hate winter. I really want it to be over. Alex's new trick to keep me on my toes is waking at some point in the night and staying AWAKE for 2-3 hours a night. He's happy, I put him down. Slight grumblings, but boy oh boy if I try to step out of his room the "MAMAMAMAMMAMAMAMAMA"s start. So I have to sit there in his room until he falls asleep. I try over and over to sneak out without success. I've read toddler often have this freaky sleep pattern. The only plus to this? I've been sleeping in (since he's been sleeping in) until 9 am. Ahh. So decadent!

In other random news, my friend mentioned in this post, the one who I met in prenatal yoga and who lost her son during childbirth. She had a beautiful baby last month. She posts photos of him on facebook all the time. She complained the other day that she puts her son down for a nap and then spends her time looking at photos of her son. This mother finally has a child to dote on. I am so so happy for her.

Quilting has completely taken over my brain lately. I close my eyes at night and see squares and triangles and these bad boys:

Hexagons are actutally easier than triangles to sew! They are however much more time consuming, having to stitch each one individually and then stitch them together. To make a quilt for Alex's bed I'd need 625 of these. Umm, yeah. I'm aiming for a Stanley the monkey sized quilt.

I've joined a quilting group at the local sew shop and today I signed up for my first quilting bee. I know. How cool am I?

and a bit more randomness for you (that's why you keep coming back isn't it?)

Sweetie looks like those one of those honey bees
 that get a number glued to them so they can track its movement.

Daisy is not impressed with the chic hat for Will and Kate's wedding.

And of course the Chicken. Wearing his fireman hat like Boy George wore his bowler hat.
I'm lurking in the background. I thought I was out of the frame.
He looks cute doesn't he?
Yeah, about a second later he threw the rainstick at the photographer's head.

ETA: Here's an outtake of Sweetie. Not a pelt. No animals were harmed in the making of this quilt.