Tuesday, July 30, 2013

SO What Next?

Sometimes things just keep happening and you barely recover from one thing before a new event takes place. That is what this summer has been about.

First, there was the big storm that knocked out by power for 4 days. Next, there was Jan's funeral and all the events that went along with that. The weekend after I got home found me with a massive tooth infection and basically out for the count.

Lucky for me, I had some leftover Vicodin from my foot surgery. And before you say anything, I know I shouldn't be taking it without doctor approval but, it was Friday night and I had a whole weekend of a boatload of pain to look forward to and I decided to carefully self medicate and get to a dentist first thing Monday morning. So, that weekend was take a pill - eat a little - sleep a lot - repeat.

That Monday morning my dentist got me in first thing and by the end of the day I had emergency root canal and more Vicodin and Antibiotics to make things better. It took 10 days to get my cheek/tooth under control and next up is a new crown for that tooth.

In between all this I've dealt with the hottest summer we've had in a long time and  well, I'm ready for a little bit of nothing for a while.

This weekend will be a family gathering that is a celebration. No trauma, no diseased teeth, no anything bad - just family good times together. Maybe the last month of the summer will be better than the first part!

I'm hoping to get some pictures of the Jan Shawl this weekend and finish up the pattern to put it up for sale. When it's all ready, I'll write a post about it and let everyone know where it get it.

Just so you have a picture and something to look at - here's a project bag I made for a friend during a swap this summer. It's a small 8x8x8 lined cube with 3 loops and a handle. The handle fits thru the loops to close the top and make it a nice little bag to carry. The embroidery design on the front is from Embroidery Library but I didn't stitch the "Love to Knit" that was below the design.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Stars, Yarnbombing and a surprise

This past week I've been in LA for my SIL's memorial service. You can't go to LA without having a little drive around to see the houses of the stars.The typical view is of gates and a lot of bushes. This is 9481 Readcrest Dr in Beverly Hills. Isn't is a pretty house? Oh, you can't see the house?
Let's try Bing maps. I love checking things out on the computer to get those lovely shots you would never see in real life. This is, according to the info I got, Bette Midler's house. Or, at least it was her house at some point, I don't know if it still is. If you look toward the middle right of the picture you can see the gate where I took my picture.
Moving on down the road a bit and over near Rodeo Drive is Roxbury Dr. It is/was the home of many, many stars. The exciting thing about Roxbury is you actually see the houses. They are on the street just like our houses. Here's one of them. It belonged to Lucille Ball. Her next door neighbor was Jack Benny, next to him - Peter Falk.
The one thing that surprised me about the house was how small it was. Yea, its big compared to my house when you think of a star's house, not so big. Until you do the Bing map thing. Here's how the house looks from above. Much bigger, much more what I expected.
Another thing you need to do is have dinner at the beach. My last night my brother and I headed over to Redondo Beach pier and ate at Kincaid's. Wonderful food and the view was the sun setting over the ocean. That doesn't happen in Minnesota!
My trip to LA included a couple fiber related things. While driving along the beach on a small side road I had to stop suddenly and take a quick picture. Yarn bombing big time - on the beach! This is the yard of a house about 2 houses away from Santa Monica Beach. Knitters are everywhere!
The other fiber thing that happened this week was a surprise. I've made my brother afghans and quilts over the years but never expected to see this.....
This is the first quilt I made him. It used to be more vibrant colors but then that was in the mid 1970s. Can you believe it! I made this quilt almost 40 years ago. It was made block by block. Each block was sewn as a complete piece - velour backing, batting and top sewn as a sew and flip. Then the blocks were sewn together top and batting together and the backing was hand sewn. There are a few holes in the top, its very faded but here it is - proof I can make things that can be used and survive the years.
So, now I'm back home. Back to Minnesota with no ocean beaches but I do have a yard. Grass that is bigger than 5 feet by 5 feet. A yard I can move around in and breathe in without bumping into 20 other people. A yard I can celebrate July 4th in. We live in a great country where everyone can find a place that works for them. My brother loves LA - I love Minnesota - we both love this country!

Fire Captain Jan Chatelain - you will be missed

I don't like to announce when I go out of town until I've returned because of the whole " someone's going to see I'm gone and break into the house" theory of things. Now that I'm back I can talk about my trip to LA. Unfortunately, it wasn't a vacation - it was for my sister-in-law's memorial service.

Jan passed away a couple weeks ago from a job related cancer. That's a term you don't see too often unless you know someone in the fire department. You see, fire fighters work with smoke and asbestos and other toxins that increase their chances of getting cancer to way more than the regular people. They know this going in and take on the job anyway. If you look at the reasons firefighter pass they are almost always heart attacks or job related cancer. This is a fact I didn't know until recently.

My SIL was a Fire Captain for LA County. She was the 13th woman to become a fire fighter in LA County. She is the first female captain to pass while on active duty. She was in line to become a Battalion Chief. Jan was a force to be reckoned with. A strong woman who knew what her passion was and she went for it.

Last Saturday we all gathered to remember this remarkable person. The we being friends and family and what felt like the entire LA County fire department. It was a hot day and about 200 firefighters showed up with their trucks, rigs, cars, paramedic vehicles and more. There was a giant flag hanging from two ladder trucks over the street we drove in on. The department provided my brother and me with an official escort for the day so we didn't have to drive or worry about anything but showing up and being amazed at how much organization and care went into the memorial.

Chief Daryl Osby, fire chief of LA County, gave a talk about Jan and her service. He also had some personal words about her that showed he really knew her. There was an honor guard with bag pipes and it all ended with a flyby of 2 helicopters. Later we learned they held off heading out to a brush fire for one minutes so they could complete the flyby.

The LA Fire Department is amazing. The 2 chaplains (Matt and Rick) who spent time with us were great guys. The union rep from Local 1014, Andy, had everything so in control and did so with such care. The term family really does description the fire dept. By the day before the service Andy had already made sure Jan would be included in this year's service at the fire fighter memorial in Sacramento and was working on getting her included in the National memorial in Colorado for next year's service. Thanks everyone, you made a tough time easier to endure for my brother!

Through all this I was knitting. On the plane, at my brother's house and now at home. I've designed a shawl that is basic, strong and has some feminine accents to it. It reminds me of Jan. When I've completed the shawl it will be for sale as a PDF download. The proceeds will be going to a group to support firefighter families. I'm talking to Chaplain Matt about which specific group and will let everyone know when we decide the best one. He's checking around to see if there was a group Jan spoke of or worked with and that's what we will send the proceeds to. It seems so little but its what I can do to honor Jan and all the members of her department that give their lives to protect others.