Tuesday, August 28, 2012


We just spent a magical weekend with what constituted 90% of our family - 3 days together celebrating Adam's wedding. You don't have many times like that in life where all are healthy and happy and together. It made me think back to my own first wedding ( maybe I'll blog about the others later).
When my sister and I were born, we each had our own Nanny. Mine was Lilly ( shortened to E later on). Judy's nanny was NanNan. E was with us all of my single life and some of my married life.
When I was young , Mom would rip us apart if we used the bathroom designated and built into our house for the help. Until I read 'The Help", I assumed she would get mad because she was sure we would mess up their bathroom. Is it possible to be that naive at 65-years-old???
When my Dad planned my wedding ( every single detail ), he didn't count on one important aspect - Lilly. I wouldn't get married without E there with me. E wasn't allowed in the Pendennis Club. I refused to get married without her. A truce was finally called. The Pendennis Club would allow me to take a "dresser" to help me. She, however, could not come in the front door or without me. So... my favorite wedding picture is my new husband, me and Lilly in the limo riding from the church to the Pendennis Club. I went in the back door with E - I wasn't going to have her go in that door alone.
Switch back to present. My new family. With us this weekend were my half-Chinese, half-Thai stepson Michael, his Filipino wife Roselyn, their child Garrett, our non-adopted Japanese son Ken, my daughter Jennifer, her husband Phil, and her son Andrew and step-daughter Tasha, Terry's son Brent, his wife Debbie, and  his son Brentan and step-daughter Megan. His, hers and ours for Adam's wedding. Adam's new wife - part Portuguese. She fits right in, doesn't she?
What tells me this is a different world we live in was the grandchildren. All ages, all colors of skin playing together. The best line of the night of the rehearsal dinner came from Michael's son. Garrett had been playing with Brentan. Brentan left to go to the bathroom. Garrett ran in and yelled " Has anybody seen the little white boy?"
Three nights of going to bed afterf 1 a.m. I can barely function. Who cares?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

R.I.P. K'wan Yin

A few years ago my eyes were driving me crazy. I have a way of working out problems in my dreams. I dreamt that I was losing my vision, so I developed "work-arounds". Instead of reading I would use books on tape, etc.etc. I decided for something creative, since I couldn't paint, I would sculpt. When I woke up, I announced to Terry that I was going to do this.  He is the most supportive husband in the world. I found a 3-day class at the Ringling School of Art and went down to Sarasota. In 3 days, I had a 25 pound head - Roy. Move over Rodin - I was on the way to becoming famous. I loved the feel of the clay, I loved the freedom of just using my hands instead of a tiny paintbrush.
I returned to Charlotte and called everywhere to find a teacher. No luck.
Two months ago, out of the blue, I got a call from an incredibly talented sculptor - Chase Winfield - who wanted to know if I would like to study with him. Oh, my. Game on ! He told me to come to class with what I wanted to do in mind. When I told him I was going to do a 24" tall goddess  his eyebrows shot up - but he didn't utter a word of discouragement. The picture was taken after my 3rd class. I was ecstatic. When I went in for the 4th class, someone had knocked over my statue and destroyed it. I spent that class just getting the proportions back - and this time took her home to work on her. I got everything done but the face.
Last week, I drove to Charlotte. I hate wasting the time to drive there - but the 2 hours spent in class overweigh the time on the road. I got to class - teacher had his days mixed up and wasn't there. I started home. A young woman ran a red light. I had to slam on my brakes and swerve off the road. I pretty much knew what I would find when I unwrapped the statue - so I waited a day. I now have a tall mess of clay on my hands. Totally ruined - without redemption.
Here's the thing. They say there are no accidents. Was this meant to be? I have absolutely no desire to start over. I don't know if it is due to the loss our good friend, Terry's ensuing hospitalization, too much real work that has to be done, or too much going on with the upcoming wedding. All I know is that Rodin can rest in peace - I won't be stealing any of his thunder anytime soon. Notice I didn't even try for Michaelangelo status - I know better.  Maybe the accident was to tell me just to drop this for now. Sometimes I am a little dense and miss the message I should have gotten. So - for now - I'm still in business as a needlepoint canvas painter. Luckily, it's something I love doing.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lions and Tigers and Bears - Oh My!

Many have commented on my cryptic "finishing" statements. Let me elaborate what the last 6 months have been like:
1) the wonderful shoe finisher in San Francisco finished a pair of mules for a customer size 5 1/2 instead of 7 1/2. We sent them back in March to be redone. They fired the shoe finisher who did them and have yet to find another finisher. The shoes are in limbo
2) Leatherprize - a purse finisher I have used for 35 years - finished 2 monogram satchel bags for me to the tune of $500.00 each. One problem - she switched the monograms on the ends of both purses. I have had sobbing customers, one threw up ( the purse was a wedding gift for her daughter). I had the finisher take the bags apart and I personally restitched new ends. Sent them back. The finisher wouldn't redo without being prepaid. We wouldn't prepay since we wanted to see the finished corrected product first. Had to dig up someone from the past I had thought was dead - he is redoing them.
3) sent a belt to the stitching service  we usually use with Merino wool for the dark background. Somehow the stitching service switched background yarns on me - stitched with a wool that has not been produced for over 20 years - no coverage. I now have to restitch that belt to get it to the customer by her son's birthday.
4) sent rabbit piece with silk background to another stitching service. it came in with the background dirty and streaked - looks like they spilled something on it and tried to wash it out.
5) I sent a belt to the finisher who does the Eliza B stuff to be finished a size 41. They called - their leather guy had mistakenly cut it down to a 31. That is now being restitched.
6) We took a bench cover to the man who used to be the most wonderful upholsterer. I sent Tasha with a check to pick it up. It was horrible. Turns out the finisher was actually so sick he was a week from dying. His sons decided to try their hands at finishing and failed. No way th get that money back for either the labor or the fabric.
These are the things that I worry about late at night - things I am responsible for but have no actual control over. I am beginning to think I should accept only finishing that I can actually do myself if all else fails. This is why I sounded so frustrated in the last blog. Next blog will be all positive - I promise!