textiles · exploration · misadventure


Mad and Sad, but Mostly Glad

To all of my American readers who celebrate it, I hope you all had a super Thanksgiving holiday. Mine was so good I can only hope to let the words tell it. The pictures sure can’t. Cause there AREN’T any.

THAT is the mad and sad part. I thought I’d accidentally left my camera at home, but all the time it was lurking, in its black case, at the dark bottom of a black bag. Imagine my fury when I found it, back at home, while unpacking.

I can tell you how great it was to spend days with my older sister Lori, with four of her five children, and two of her four grandchildren. How her kids, aged 20-32-ish, came over and hung out with Crazy Aunt Robin* and Uncle Matt, gathered around the kitchen table and slagged each other and told the wickedest stories for HOURS. (Duct taping Robert to the bedroom wall has got to be my favorite. He didn’t think they could do it. He was wrong.)

I can tell you how much my head and cheeks ached from laughing my ass off for hours. How I didn’t want them to go home, how it got later and later and I got sleepier and sleepier, and I just didn’t want it to end, because it was SO wonderful being in a room full of them all.

I can tell you that those kids have grown up to be incredible, loving, interesting adults with character, intelligence, strong family loyalty, and a most wicked and delightful sense of humor.

I can tell you how much I loved spending more time with Lori, following up on our visit this summer. How great it was to see her with her kids and grand-kids, in her own home, doing her own thing her own way. Her own kind, loving, serious, funny, generous way. (Sorry we ate so much of the Pacifica buckwheat honey, sis. I’ll send you some more.)

I can tell you how charming it was to find Matthew and my eldest (gorgeous) grand-niece, seven-year-old Adrianna, playing hide and seek. How she couldn’t find him anywhere until she checked behind the bathroom door and found him and said, “I never thought you’d hide there! It’s so WEAK!”

How painfully adorable she looked on the swing set when we took her for a bike ride and stopped at a playground. How her long, wild, curly black hair writhed about her, backlit by the sun, how Matt and I stopped to watch, how I choked up at the thought that I had to leave, that I’ll rarely see her, that I’ll miss so much of this smart, saucy, hysterical, intuitive little girl who makes friends where ever she goes, who could maybe use a grand-aunt around. We barely know her, but we’ll miss her so.

I can tell you, although he spent most of my time there with his father, that my two-year-old grand-nephew is charming, funny, and one good-looking little devil. I heard later than Matt functioned as a drawbridge in a running-around-the-coffee-table game. After eight or nine times around the table, and sixteen or twenty slaps on the table to signal the drawbridge to raise or lower, Matt got both a high-five AND a fist-bump, which we think signifies great favor with the little man who doesn’t talk much.

I can tell you I spent Thanksgiving morning walking through falling snow in the middle quiet, empty streets in a small neighborhood in Fort Collins, waved to the few cars that happened to pass, and got to know some of Matt’s mom’s good friends, good people, people I’ve been hearing about for years.

I can tell you I hung out with Matthew’s mom, Jane, one of the kindest, most generous of mums, with never less than fifteen kinds of tea and the BEST turkey sandwich (with homemade horseradish cranberry sauce) I’ve ever had. And if you ever need to cut down a box to get a sewing machine into the overhead bin on the airplane, THIS is the lady you want to help you out, because she’ll dig out her totally bitchen, fifty-year-old square level from the basement, hold the box still while you cut it, and never criticize when you come far to close to your own fingers.

I can tell you I spent Thanksgiving at an artist’s home, got the personal tour of her quilting and art studio, saw my first-ever long-arm quilting machine (what a beast!), got to know good people even better, and put a helluva lot of home-made turkey, stuffing, and gravy out of its misery. We wrote our wishes and gratitudes on tissue paper and lighted them on fire, to see them carried high into the air on warm currents.

I got to see Ed and Sue, which is always nice. Sue and I joked about how walking about in the snow for fifteen minutes in modern gear and waterproof snowboots makes us feel like real survivalists, and we laughed at ourselves together. (Sue would kick my ass in a fight, even if I picked the weapons.)

I can tell you we played games until late, drove home in the quiet snow, slept late and luxuriously, ate really, really well, saw people we loved, visited our traditional haunts—and came home. Sad to leave, mad about the camera, but happy, and lucky, and loving, and knowing it.

*Their official name for me for more years than I can remember.