Don’t Blink

Don’t Blink, Kenny Chesney

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Part of living in God’s country is country western music.  It’s literally the only music one can access on local stations. Thank goodness for all the alternative sources of music.

Country Western, in itself, wouldn’t be so bad except that more often than not, the theme is about loss…sad songs pulling on your emotions.

Regardless, a current local DJ favorite is an old Kenny Chesney song, Don’t Blink.

I’ve included it just in case you live in an area that does not favor the CW genre. The song plays well as the backdrop to this post so you might want to click on the play button just to get the full effect…

My kids and four grandsons descended this past week.  We had great fun — the boys spending most of their time paddle boarding, kayaking, fishing, playing marathon monopoly and eating.  Lots of eating, but then, they are all still growing skywards. They tower over me, making me that much more aware of just how quickly time is passing.

My oldest grandson recently graduated from University of California, celebrated his 23rd birthday and is stepping into a whole new life adventure.

Don’t Blink.

The two sixteen year old cousins remain two peas in a pod, even though they’re launching in very different directions — one, interning at the California Academy of Sciences, has a science bent that far exceeds his age, and the other, a strong student with multi-faceted interests, is currently dedicated to his first love, playing varsity football.  The fourteen year old missed the competitive gene despite having the build of a football player, but shows exceptional talent as an artist and sculptor.

My oldest and only granddaughter, in her early 30’s, is with her wife in London, where she is living her dream of being the lead pastry chef for a boutique cafe chain.  They are hoping to become moms in the near future.

Which also means I’ll be a great-grandmother.

Don’t Blink.

And my kids?  Hovering on either side of 50 and, despite life challenges in health, family and careers, remain good people.

And that is ultimately what counts.

In all of this, I find it a bit curious that as we age and perhaps face more goodbyes than new adventures, there are unexpected moments of solitude and reflection, usually in the silence after the cars, kids, grand-kids and grand-dogs have departed.

It seems, at least for me, that it is in those moments of Aloneness that I have become keenly aware that the regrets and losses of our lifetimes stay closer than the successes.

The importance of the triumphs of our lives, those events once celebrated, have diminished with time.  Like fine dust caught in a breeze, they leave little more than a whisper of a memory.

But the regrets? oh my.  They hover close, just waiting for that moment of Aloneness to remind us once again of what we might have done, might have given, might have said…

…the different paths that our lives, and the people whose lives we touched, might have taken, if only…

Don’t Blink.

 

Driving the Ferrari

gammillGentlemen, don’t hold your breath on this one…

I was buying material at one of one of my two favorite quilting shops in the Sierra foothills (Whistle Stop in Auburn and Sugar Pine in Grass Valley, should you ever be up this way) and chatting with the owner about sewing machines while waiting to connect with Sister Jane so I could begin quilting the two quilt tops that were my gloomy, stuck-in-the-house January projects.

The owner suggested that I drive down to Sacramento and check out an inventory of new and used machines at a large warehouse type store.  I did just that, with the plan of getting an overview of what I might, possibly, need somewhere in the future. Maybe.

A young clerk smiled and offered to help.  I was ready for the sticker shock, having already visited one of their satellite shops nearby, but, row after row of machines doing more that I’d ever use at prices I wouldn’t want to afford was still overwhelming.

She finally stopped, looked at me and said, Let’s go down to the other end of the warehouse.

We made the long trek down to a row of four or five ENORMOUS machines.  They were beyond what you’d call long-arm. They were each 12 feet long and we won’t talk about the price other than to note they’re in the tad pricey category. One would doubt take up an entire garage, which given the price, may be an appropriate place for them.

But those machines sure did the job of making quilting a breeze.

The driver of the machine stood, holding a bicycle handlebar, on which was attached a laser light.  The beam shown down on a design that extended along a 12 foot long roll of what looked like the old continuous feed computer paper.  You just selected the design (or make your own), attach your quilt top, the batting and the backing to the machine, turn it on and follow the design.

The clerk had me hooked, especially after explaining that after a day long training and $15 an hour to rent said machine, I could be on this Ferrari model of sewing machines and quilting!  And have someone around to answer questions and provide the thread!

Whoo Hoo!  Sign me up!

Earlier this week, I attended the six hour class. It was learning to drive a Ferrari, including trying to remember how to use a stick shift while following the laser dot on the pattern and keeping an eye on the computer screen.  Good Grief.  I used to be able to multi-task, but this was more challenging than I imagined it would be.

I was also the novice in the group.  The instructor asked how long we had been quilting.  Twenty, thirty, forty years. Eight weeks.

Nonetheless, I got four rows quilted on a dummy quilt.  It was not close to being ready for prime time, but I am going back in next week, with more scrap material in hand and will practice some more, and some more and…

…and a whole lot more before the Ferrari and my two quilt tops will ever be introduced.  I figure that when I can quilt a pattern and have it kind of, sort of look like the pattern is the time that I will bring in my quilts.  In the meantime, my two quilt tops will just be folded, looking tidy, neat and very impressive to my non-quilting friends.