Thursday, November 29, 2018

Really Random Thursday, 11/29/18

I hope all of you in the US had a lovely Thanksgiving.

For the last several years we have started our Thanksgiving day with a turkey trot, the entrance fee being two cans of food for the church food pantry.

It always takes a long time for trees to show their fall colors here in the central valley, but when they do, they are spectacular.

It was a good morning for a two-mile walk (I've never done the longer five-mile). I still push Ella in the stroller--two miles is quite a distance for little legs.

Just a random picture of crazy hair.
It's an invigorating way to begin the day--a little exercise before all the fabulous food that comes later.

A few days before Thanksgiving, Gabe designed his own dot-to-dot, a four-part masterpiece complete with a color key. Aaron, Christa, Charlotte and Levi each had a part that they needed to complete. With instructions to return by November 21.

It was quite complicated. And when all the parts were finally set side to side, this is what it looked like. I was quite impressed.
A fun tradition is the cute placecards that Grammy makes each year with the grandkids.
Charlotte is learning how to do lettering and used her skills this year.

The kids table has expanded to seven.
Charlotte, now that she is in junior high, has graduated to the adult table.
For the third year in a row, Gabe has also provided the entertainment. Two years ago he formed a band with his dad and siblings. Last year it also involved music. This year he was a stand-up comedian. He is always entertaining.
Mark and I left on Saturday morning for a weekend in San Jose. Our first stop was the San Jose Quilt Museum. I need to remember this for a future photo op.
I forgot to get the information on the quilter who made this--it was my favorite.
This was made by Margaret Black--the matchstick quilting provided beautiful texture.
This has so many tiny pieces, made by Maria Shell.
Yarn bombing outside the museum.
After checking into the hotel, we parked the car and didn't get into it again until we left on Monday morning. A holiday tradition in San Jose is Christmas in the Park, 550 (yes you read that correctly-550!!) decorated Christmas trees. We wandered around during the afternoon, with plans to come back in the evening.
We found this planter filled with snow. Oh, wait...of course it was really just cotton--a disappointment to this Minnesota boy.
We wandered through the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel.

We had pizza for dinner, where I spotted this bottle of wine with a quilty label.
When it got dark, we went back to see the trees.

The trees are all decorated by community organization, schools and churches.  Ordinarily this tree would not have gotten my attention. This year, it has an entirely different meaning.
We had a late-night snack in our hotel of this delicious brie. So yummy.
On Sunday, my birthday, we did turn the car on long enough to take this picture. So weird when your car reminds you of your birthday.
The main reason we came to San Jose this weekend was to see Darci Lynn, the 2017 winner of America's Got Talent--an incredibly talented ventriloquist who is only 14 years old!! The venue was right next door to our hotel, a beautiful older auditorium called the City National Civic.
The show was really great--if you have a chance to see Darci Lynn, we highly recommend it.
We ended my birthday with a fabulous dinner at Original Joe's, a restaurant nearly as old as me, started in 1956. We had pasta, and when Mark told the waiter it was birthday, he brought vanilla and pumpkin gelato. We sat at the bar and were able to watch the chefs prepare the food--Mark even picked up some good ideas which he has already tried. :)
Levi had his orchestra concert.

And of course we have been bombarded with ads, from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. However....we have tried to heed this advice. How about you?

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Really Random Thursday-Eve, 11/21/18

This has been an eventful week. Some wonderful, some not so much.

Let's get the "not so much" out of the way first and end on a happy note.

A little over a week ago, I discovered a breast lump. It was a Saturday. By Tuesday, I underwent a mammogram, ultrasound and needle biopsy. By Thursday, I had the diagnosis of breast cancer. Since that time, my emotions have been a rollercoaster, sometimes peaceful, sometimes terrified. As Mark and I have started the process of sharing the news with our family and friends, I have received amazing support. Charlotte and I had made a date awhile back to go to Color Me Mine. When we made the date, I could never have anticipated that this is what I would decide to paint.
She worked on this cute little reindeer, though she has an aversion to anything "Christmas" before Thanksgiving. We had such a good time. She was good for my spirits.

This arrived today. I am working diligently at staying off the internet and doing "research." It is confusing, and not at all helpful. My cousin Cathy said this is the only book to read.
Mark, who is always my biggest rock and support, has been the best. I came home the other day to find beautiful flowers, the sweetest note, and one of his fused glass breast cancer ribbons. I don't think either of us anticipated that ultimately he would be giving one of them to me.
While I await my treatment plan meeting with surgeon and oncologist on the 29th, I received some good preliminary news yesterday--the tumor is "teeny tiny" and "lazy" And my hormone test results are very good. I'm feeling thankful for so many things--love and support. I'm encouraged and optimistic.

And also, while I only read horoscopes for fun, this was mine a couple of days ago. I'm saving it in my journal.
Along with this hand-colored note from my friend, Barb.

Now on to the good stuff!!

Charlotte was baptized on Sunday. Mark and I were fortunate to hear her testimony on Wednesday night.
This is a big step for her, and we are so proud of this girl. She has an amazing capacity for empathy, she is a rock-steady friend, and reliable in any situation. And funny. We see great things in store for her.

A couple of cool things is that this is the same church where her father was baptized. And also in the group on Sunday was one of her best friends, Violet. She and Violet have been friends for 12 years--they have grown up in this church together, have gone to the same school since kindergarten, and up until about 1 1/2 years ago, lived within a block of each other. This is just another thing that will bond them together.
We celebrated these two with a combined family dinner at Spaghetti Factory after the service. Friends who feel more like family is a special gift.
In the midst of all this, I finished this afghan, which I started working on over five years ago. I'm thrilled that it is finally completed, just in time for colder weather! When I get a chance, I'll take better pictures of the whole thing, as it is worthy of its own separate blog post. :)
Also during this week, Carrie has been quilting my "Finding the Way to My Heart" quilt. The interesting back story on this is that Carrie is a breast cancer survivor. I was fortunate to meet her in person at QuiltCon in Pasadena this past February. In the past couple of weeks we have been texting and talking on the phone as we have discussed quilting designs. After I received the phone call about my diagnosis, she was one of the first people I shared the news with--she knew exactly the new emotions I was going through. My quilt is finished and on its way back to me. It is beyond my wildest vision.

I'm not showing the entire quilt yet, but be prepared to be amazed!!

On a funny side note, I showed her my initial concept sketch. You see the "vision," right??  I'm nothing if not graphically challenged. Ha!

But the most important thing to me is that I am sure it is not a coincidence that she was the specific person working on this quilt, at the specific time I received my diagnosis.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow (here in the States), I hope you are thankful for the important things in your life, which are not "things."

Oh, and good food. Don't forget the food. :)