Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Good-bye, Mom

Today, my mom passed away. She passed around 9 AM. She fought the good fight for so long, the better part of 14 years, getting another and another and another form of cancer every couple of years. She was only 60.

We knew this day was coming, really, since Sunday. My father called me this morning to say we were down to hours, and then about 30 minutes later, he called again to say she was gone.

The bad/mean/pessimistic whatever thing about all this is when I woke up this morning, I felt like she would be leaving us today. I didn't like that feeling.

Right now, it's like being kicked harder than you ever thought possible, right in the stomach. I can't believe that she's actually gone, because it's kind of like POOF, no more Mom to love or talk to or get advice from.

She taught me to sew. Not outright or with any instruction, but by allowing me to play in her sewing supplies when I was a kid and having me watch what she did. Later on, she let me use her sewing machine. She kind of believed in trial by fire, and never seemed to think I was "wasting" her supplies.

She encouraged me to try new arts and crafts, by supplying me with those damned wonderful UK crafting magazines that I loved so much. She'd send me new yarns that her store got in, so I could tell her about them, because as she said, "I don't know a damn thing about yarn. I can't talk to the customers about it!"

There was a year when I was in college that I had a summer job at the local petting zoo. One night, we had a terrible storm. The tornado sirens were going off, one tornado had been spotted, tree branches and limbs coming down, thundering and lightening and raining like the world was coming to an end. The next day, I was supposed to go open up the zoo and start the morning feeding. I expecting some of the smaller animals that lived outside (fowl, bunnies) to be dead from the storm. Mom told me I wasn't going to go down there alone. She was expecting worse damage there than I was, and didn't want me to see that kind of carnage alone.

We gathered some gloves and garbage bags, and drove down there together.

Amazingly enough, all of our animals, both big and small, weathered the storm and survived. But Mom was a little heart-struck with sadness/amazement when we got to the big front gate. When I was unlocking it, we were spotted by Ruby, the donkey, and Ruby started braying for us. It was deep and soulful. Mom asked if I thought Ruby had been scared by the storm the night before and that's why she was crying now, because she knew she'd be safe since we were there. I said, maybe, but she always carried on like that when I got to the zoo, although she did sound a little sad that particular morning.

Another time, it was another case of Mom to the rescue at the zoo. Someone dropped off an entire litter of kittens. They were tiny and there was 4-5 of them. We took them in and started checking them over. Each one of them had goopy, infected looking eyes. I called Mom for some supplies (because we were a little bare-bones in supplies that day). She brought us all kinds of things. When she got to the zoo, me, her and a couple volunteers each picked a kitten, and spent some time cleaning those little faces and bodies up. They were just stunning when they were cleaned. I couldn't have done that without her.

Christmas was her favorite holiday. She typically started her Christmas shopping MONTHS in advance. Every year after Christmas, she'd swear, "Next year, I'm going to cut back, but I couldn't help myself this year. I kind of got carried away." Christmas 188 started a very funny trend that became our family joke every year: she'd get everything wrapped and under the tree or in the stockings...and then after every gift had been opened, Mom would realize she'd forgotten one more bag of goodies for me and my sister. She would hide things THAT WELL. So after she'd haul out the last bag (it was always a paper grocery store bag that was overfull), she'd call us back out to the tree and it was like Christmas v1.5 or something.

I forgot one year that I had a couple extra gifts for Shane stashed away upstairs in my crafting room. When I went to get them, as I came down the stairs, Shane yelled up to me, "Hey Patty, why don't you keep a list so you don't forget what you have???" :) Patty was, of course, my mom.

I hope that if there is an afterlife, that when she got there, there were her family members waiting for her, to take her in, so she wasn't alone in all this. Her mom, her sister, the dogs, even my mother-in-law...I hope they were all there for her.

Good-bye, Mommy. As I told her before, a couple of times, I was always really proud of her, and I will always love her and miss her. The world will be a darker, sadder place without her.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Did I Get My Crafting Mojo Back?

I definitely felt like it last night! And it surprised the hell out of me, considering the turmoil in my life right now.

LED candle inside the lantern, includes reindeer moss, faux evergreen, silk roses and berries in a foam disk, held in place with tape. This was actually made at the store manager's request. The lanterns are new, and she wanted one to have an LED candle and an arrangement of some kind, to go on display. These are actually quite roomy!

Wreath with net bow, Christmas picks and assorted extras.

Christmas basket with dark red poinsettias and lilies, with faux frosted evergreens and stems, and berries.
Christmas headstone saddle, with white and green silk carnations. This was actually just one entire bunch of flowers, with even the holly and fern leaves picked off and used as filler. I wasn't planning on making one of these last night, but I saw a woman that had grabbed one from the shelf and had it in her cart, so I figured I should replace it.
I have decided to take photos of my favorite arrangements, so I can have a portfolio of sorts. I never got to make this kind of stuff at the other two flower shops I worked at. At the first one, I was a floral assistant, so the actual florists got to do the fun stuff. At the second shop, I was a florist, but their arrangements were kept so traditional (boring) because that was the style that ALL OF THE CUSTOMERS liked, so the owner never wanted to try making anything different.

I really had to laugh at an article I read on Yahoo yesterday: "5 Jobs Nearing Extinction."

Endangered Career #4: Floral Designer 
2010 - 2020 Outlook*: -9 percent,
6,200 lost jobs

Daisies are stylish. Sunflowers offer your best wishes. And of course, roses are romantic. Floral designers create flower arrangements for special occasions and celebrations. But with this career not growing fast enough, they may not have much to celebrate themselves.

Why It's Nearing Extinction: Floral designers largely work in florist shops, where overall employment is expected to decline, says the U.S. Department of Labor. Instead of purchasing elaborate floral decorations from such shops, customers are increasingly buying loose cut fresh flowers from grocery stores and general merchandise stores.
I had one guy from the store tell me last night that all of the seasonal people that were hired last year were kept on after the holidays. That's a good sign for me, maybe because I'm not working in a traditional floral shop this time.