Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Short List

With the craziness that I am decidedly calling two-thousand-and-twelve, I have been somewhat slacking on the the knitting front. I have several projects on the needles and shoved in bags and in the back of my brain somewhere but I just haven't managed to organize myself enough to get anything done. People just keep having babies and the seasons change with out so much as consulting me and my project progress.

Chances are that if you are a friend or family member you have most likely been waiting for your handmade gift for so long that you've forgotten about it or just plain given up on me. Well I haven't forgotten and this is my effort to light a fire under my own ass. Granted there are many more people I would like to make something for, (especially you, Dad!) I have got to start somewhere. This is my short list of things I will finish in the next two weeks:

 1. The scarf I promised Coral D. back in January. I don't think she thought I was serious when I told her I would have it to her by July.

2. LeighAnne's baby gift. Little Mr. Wright is due in a couple weeks. Wright, you are not in any hurry; two weeks, okay buddy?

If you can think of a humiliating consequence for me should I fail to complete my short list will you please post it in the comments. I'm hoping the fear of public humiliation will thwart my procrastination. Or leave me a comment on the blog about what hand knit you would like and I'll see about making that for you! I would love to hear what sewn or knitted item you might like. Just don't expect it in the next two weeks.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Decoration Day 2012

Today is Decoration Day (the last Monday of May) as it used to be called until the Federal government officially adopted the more popular Memorial Day back in 1967. This is a day when Americans remember those who have died in military service for our country. A day when we fly American flags at half staff from dawn to noon in tribute to our fallen soldiers and then raise them to full staff as a symbol of our continued dedication to liberty and justice. 

We Americans are good people. While not perfect, we work to take care of ourselves, our people, and our neighbors. At the root of our democracy I believe we, as a people, are righteous, brave, and mindful.

While this is a solemn day, we will also be celebrating the freedoms our country affords us.  We remember what this day is truly about and we promise that the souls who gave their lives fighting for the greater good did not do so in vain. We will be thinking of them all day today.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Of Blogs and Beds

I'm having a hard time deciding if I want to have two blogs (one for family and one for crafts) or combine them into one.  Seeing as to how I hardly ever write on either of them I really suppose it doesn't matter as much as the time and thought I'm giving it would suggest.

Having said that, for now I am sticking with this blog.  I've had it for a while and there have been a few good posts along the years. Besides, I'm not really all that good at compartmentalizing my life. So here it is, a crafty post on the family blog. I'm sure we'll all manage to deal with it.

We moved back into our house in Dallas about 3 1/2 weeks ago. The entire place is hardwood (with the exception of tile in the kitchen and baths). This is great aesthetically, but our poor pupcake, Patton, has not a place to lay his head. That's a lie, he has several couches, but a dog just needs to lie like one sometimes. The hardwoods are not forgiving of little boney puppy elbows. I've looked for several beds at the usually pet stores and even tried to find one online.  They are all either way too pricey, not very cute, or a combination of both. That's when I decided I would make Patton a bed!

I picked up some outdoor fabric from the local JoAnn's and basically made a glorified pillow with piping. It turned out pretty darn handsome, especially when he lies on it!

For some reason he knew it was his. It might have been my, "Mommy's making you a bed! You want a bed?" comments all day. He periodically would come over and sit on any part of it that hit the ground. I could barely keep him off of it while I was stuffing and hand sewing the last little opening. When we finally let him have his bed he jumped on before I even got it out of my hands. The only thing better than having a cute dog bed is having a cute dog that likes his cute dog bed!

ps- I am first and foremost a hand knitter, but I must publicly declare how much I like the speed and efficiency of a sewing machine. The relatively immediate gratification of a handmade creation is most excellent.

pps- I just walked into the other room to get my camera so I could load the pictures of him on the bed and guess what?! He was on the bed! Sigh.

ppps- So happy my sewing machine didn't die a traumatic shaken and smashed death on it's ride from NYC to Dallas. I was a bit worried after seeing the state of our garbage can and a couple of boxes. The movers did manage to write a big "TX" on the case with permanent marker. I was aggravated by the unapproved tattoo at first, but now it's kinda growing on me. It's a traveled machine with stories to tell. Plus she knows where her home is :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

In Loving Memory of John Wayne McDannel

     I've always said that half the reason Jeremy and I got hitched was so I could marry into his family. No, he doesn't come from money.  However, he comes with something much more valuable. His kin. We had only been dating a month when Jeremy brought me home to meet his parents, Jackie and John. It was an instant connection. The following years we grew closer. I looked forward to going to their house to watch (insert Longhorn, Cowboy, Ranger, Maverick) games and toss a ball in the back yard, eating out at many of Dallas' fine restaurants and having long conversational wine filled dinners, and laid back get-togethers with all the family in Waco or at Jackie and John's house in Dallas.  There was an unspoken sense of fellowship.  And behind all of these lovely memories is Jeremy's father, John.

     John had a re-occurrence of lung cancer that first showed up in his right upper lobe almost five years ago. Two months before Jeremy and I got married, John underwent surgery and had the lobe removed. If you were at the wedding you probably didn't noticed how the countless tests and chemo had drained him that day.  He rallied for the festivities even though he was wiped out (John's amazingly selfless and stoic through his own suffering). This year was to mark his five year "cancer free" anniversary.

     A couple weeks before Christmas John developed laryngitis that persisted into the new year. After several trips to the doctor and being told, "we don't know what's wrong," he was finally sent to a specialist. Tests were conducted and he was diagnosed with non-small squamous cell carcinoma of his entire left lung. After more testing it was discovered that the cancer had metastasized to his lymph nodes, abdomen, and spine. It was inoperable and he was given 3-9 months to live.

      When Jackie and John called us to break the news (we were living in NYC at the time) we were in shock. Jeremy and I wanted to be there with them so badly. Certainly a mere show of force from John's family would intimidate the cancer that was consuming him from the inside. It was all we could do in the fight.  We wished so hard it would just go away. We got pissed and hated the cancer (still do) for preying on our family, for attacking the father of my husband and his sister, the soul mate of my mother-in-law, the brother and uncle loved so much by his family. Alas, all we could do was tell both John and Jackie how much we love them and promise to come home as soon as we could.

     I could only imagine what he was thinking and feeling as he prepared to battle the beast that is cancer for a second time. Days went by and he completed his three weeks of daily radiation. Sweet Jackie (as John called her) was by his side the entire time, advocating for and supporting him. She drove him to Houston several times for testing to see if he qualified for any studies at MD Anderson. The cancer battled back by increasing an enzyme in his blood, disqualifying him from the only research study available to him. This was a big blow. After being told there wasn't much they could do for him here in Dallas, we were pinning all of our hopes on that study. Spirits were dampened but John persevered and started chemo in Dallas on Wednesday, March 28th.

     We moved home to Dallas that Saturday, March 31. By Wednesday, April 4 (the day after his 65th birthday), John was admitted to Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas with pneumonia. Jackie spent every night and day with him. We were waiting for the antibiotics to kick some pneumonia ass so we could get him back home. He was a fighter and this was suppose to be a mere battle in the war.

     By Tuesday morning, April 10, it had become clear that it was a losing battle and John asked us to keep him comfortable and let him go with dignity. Just the night before I told him I think the world of him and couldn't ask for a better father-in-law and friend. I told him how much I appreciate his sense of humor, wit, courage and stoicism. I hated the idea of him being sick and the thought of losing him. He prepared Jeremy and me for the worst and we promised to look out for the family and honor his wishes.  We told him that we love him. The very next day John took his last breath, with Jackie right by his side.

     The following days were a whirlwind as our family prepared to bury our patriarch. I am amazed at the fortitude and unity we showed in completing the daunting tasks. He was proud of us and we would show the world how proud we are of him.  Jeremy was spot on when he spoke at his father's funeral, saying if there is one thing that would define John it is family.  Paul, John's brother-in-law, reminded us as he conducted the funeral that although John's life ended to soon for any of us, he indeed had a full life.  A life full of what was most important to him.

     John faced his cancer full on, fought when he needed to fight, accepted what he had to accept, and left his family on this earth knowing we have his love. We love him, because he was an amazing father, husband, grandfather, son, and uncle, and every second with him was always worth it's weight in gold. Always has been, always will. As much as it hurts to say goodbye, we all know how lucky we are to have had him in our lives. It might not have been much time, but it was enough time.

In Loving Memory of John Wayne McDannel
April 3, 1947 - April 10, 2012

     John (65) died on Tuesday, April 10th, 2012, in Dallas, Texas, after his second battle with lung cancer. He was the son of Dick and Jane McDannel, both deceased. He is survived by his loving wife, Jackie; daughter Jennifer Walker (Wade); grandchildren Mark and Mason; son Jeremy McDannel (Tamara); granddog General Patton; sisters Jimye Sadler (Paul); JoBetsy Tyler (Mike); nieces and nephews Matt Sadler (Kalley and children Grayson, Matalley, and Lola), Amy Sadler, Paige, Zack, and Blake Tyler; cousin Paula Hahn; brother-in-law John Allen Ross. He was born in Waco, Texas on April 3, 1947. He was a graduate of Richfield High School (Class of 1965) and University of North Texas. As a faithful member of Park Cities Baptist Church he attended Sunday school class. He was a lover of nature and travel, Longhorn fan, avid Ticket P1, and Town North YMCA active member. He was joyful and giving in life, courageous in illness, and dignified in death. He is remembered for his generous heart, wicked sense of humor, love of family, and faith in God. Rest in peace.