Thursday, October 28, 2010

The quilt top is finished!

Here it is, the finished family tree/diary quilt that I have been blogging about for the last several months. I think it looks pretty good, what do you all think? Of course it's not finished yet. I sent it to my long arm quilter who will quilt it on her special machine and then I will add the binding a rod pocket on the back so I can hang it on a wall. The bottom right block is actually an envelope pocket and inside I will put a key to the meaning of the quilt blocks. I have it already printed on a piece of fabric that I will fold up and keep inside so that years from now somebody will have the fun of deciphering it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bright Hope

This block is called Bright Hope. I think its the perfect choice for one of Zach's blocks because we are certainly full of many bright hopes for him and his future. They are well founded too. Sally Gotilla a dear friend of Steve's from way back said when she first saw Zach as a baby that he was kissed by Angels, and so he still seems to be. He is doing well in school and growing into a hardworking responsible adult. He makes us proud all the time, and even better, he makes us laugh! He is a funny man...I almost typed boy but then thought better of it. He has earned the right to be called a man through his hard work and smart choices. He is a wonderful son and his dad and I could not be more pleased with him! The best part of all is that we hear good things about him from people he has encountered. They all say generally the same thing, that they are impressed with the quality of his character and that he is a fine young man. I got to experience this first hand over the summer. We had gone to the Sears where he works for Family and Friends night. I was in the ladies department shopping when I looked up and saw him rolling down the aisle singing to himself as he pushed a dolly in front of him. He did not see me right away, so I know his bonhomie was genuine and he was happy to be at work doing his job. I knew why his co-workers liked him, I would like working along side somebody with that attitude too! Knowing that he is making good choices for no other reason than they are the right thing to do, even when he never expects us to know about them give me confidence that our bright hopes for Zachary are well founded indeed.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jaime the Tiger

This is probably my favorite block in the quilt. It certainly is the most personal block! I designed it myself and know that Mom and Zach would recognize it instantly! Mom came to the Netherlands to visit when Zach was not quite a year old. She wanted to give him his first birthday present while we were there and she knew she wanted it to be a stuffed tiger like the one in Calvin and Hobbes Since we thought Zach would be a lot like Calvin...boy we were right about that! We searched in every town we visited for a toy tiger. We had covered almost all of the Netherlands and had all but given up. We had seen toy tigers, but none of them had that Je ne sais quoi that we were looking for. Finally on the last day of her trip we stopped in the toy store in Barneveld, the one closest to our house and there he was...the tiger we had searched the width and breadth of the Netherlands to find, in our own back yard! We snapped him up and took him home. Mom pulled out the tiger and held him up in front of Zach and we watched in utter delight as the smile spread across Zach's face and ended in an all out giggling fit of laughter. It truly was love at first sight! Zach latched on to that tiger and has not let go yet. Of course Jaime is living with us in SC and not in Zach's room at the Frat house, but we all know Zach will never let go of Jaime!
How did he come to be called Jaime you might ask and I have the convoluted answer to that question. My sister's nickname as a baby was tiger, her given name is Jamie, but in New Mexico there is a male hispanic name that is spelled very closely...Jaime ( prounounced hi-me) so naturally Jamie was often mistakenly and sometimes purposefully called Jaime and so it sort of when Zach had a tiger we naturally gave it Jamies other nickname as its own name, clear as mud right?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Baby Bunting

This block is called Baby Bunting and was an easy choice for my Zach. I still remember bringing him home from the Dutch hospital where he was born. Steve and I put him in the car seat and strapped him seemed strange to put such a tiny baby in such a big chair, his little head flopped over...Its a good thing that one of the shower gifts we received was a little cushion to put in car seats to support newborns over sized heads. I found out only recently that he was born in the shadow of the church where a pair of his ancestors were wed well over 400 years before. I wish I had known that then...

Thank goodness we had friends in the Netherlands, the Van De Glinds, the Paardekoopers, and our American friends the Polings, all who had experience with babies, something neither Steve nor I did. Both being the youngest in our own families, this was as up close and personal to a baby we had ever been! There is nothing like being thrown in the deep end to teach you how to swim and we were in well over our heads! But we managed and I think on the whole did a pretty decent job. We did it with a minumum of gadgets too. We bought a second hand crib before we left Clovis, we were given a second hand high chair and an old fashioned baby swing that you crank up by hand. The only things new were the play pen, the stroller and the car seat. Our shopping for baby stuff was severely limited. The BX on Soesterberg was small and had very little in the way of baby goods, and the Dutch stuff was out of our price range, so we did without all the bells and whistles. I did not even realize it until we moved back to the States and I saw all the baby stuff we had gotten by without. At the time I was a little disapointed to not have been able to play with all the gadgets, but you know instead of waisting time on baby gadgets I got to play with the baby instead and that was deffinately the better deal.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Z is for Zachary

This block is the Signal Flag design for the letter Z- Z for Zachary! I remember the exact moment when we chose the name Zachary for our still yet to be born baby. For some reason I never chose a girls name, only a boys. I did not know till he was born that he was a boy, the ultrasounds never showed us one way or the other, still I must have known because in my mind he was always a he and never a she.

We were at our own going away party hosted by Steve's office at Cannon AFB. It was at the restaurant above the bar at Western Skies, that then turned into China Star before burning down...We were sitting at the table talking over possible names and when the name Zachary came up we all liked it because it had the same hard ch that is in Wachter, and then Caroline Sherman said " I can hear it now...Zach Wachter...."and that was it. No need to look further, we had found the name. I hope he likes it...Having a name you like is a good thing. My name has been interpreted to mean Battle Maiden, at first I was not sure about that, but it has grown on me, seeing I have had a few battles to fight, its good I have the name for it. My friend Naomi gave me my name in Hawaiin, she took it from the literal translations of Wahine Koa to a more poetic and infinately more fun to say Kawahinewiwo'ole Which means fearless woman.

Zachary's name means Remembered by God. Since he was our one an only after my chemotherapy, I think he was remembered by God and he still is. I know because it's been repeatedly demonstrated throughout his 19 years. I tell him that good fortune follows him where ever he goes, but it would be more accurate to say that God remembers him where ever he goes.

Friday, October 15, 2010


This block was chosen for Steve and is called Hither and Yon. I think it was an obvious choice for someone who has built a career on traveling the world. Steve has over the years collected flags from the countries he has been to. I stopped counting at 30...His job certainly has taken him hither and yon, and I have tagged along for a good part of it. He has been to places that I will never go though, like Korea, Guam, United Arab Emerates, Turkey, Bosnia, Iceland...the list goes on and on. If he gets the job in DC, and we should know within the next few months, his list of 30 or more countries is likely to grow even more!

While the block is called Hither and Yon, my blog post is called Humility for one glaring reason...I messed this block up and did not realize it until it was in the quilt. I could have ripped it out, fixed it and put it back but that would have taken a day or more. So I opted in on an old quilting tradition called a "Humility Block" Its a block that is intentionally done wrong lest the quilt maker, full of hubris, should make an atempt at perfection, something only God can do. Now technically the block was not done wrong on purpose, but I did discover it in time to fix it and chose not to, so I am laying claim to the Humility block excuse on those grounds. If you look at the two blue and white triangles, you will see that one is supposed to be opposite the other and not identical. But its in the quilt now and so it will stay, my homage to humility.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Steve's Anglican compass rose

This block was originally going to be the Episcopal Shield, but with the way the Episcopal Church is moving away from our beloved Anglican three legged stool of Scripture, Tradition and Reason to a very unsteady unicylce of reason alone, I discussed it with Steve and he and I opted to make a block featuring the Anglican Compass Rose instead. Its fitting since Steve is attending an essentially Anglican Seminary. I could not do a series of blocks about Steve and not include one that represents his faith, Anyone who knows him at all knows he is a man of faith. He has been studying the Anglican theologians of the reformation recently and the Via Media that they espoused keeps coming up. Steve being the quintisential Anglican has been encouraged toward ordination by both Bishop Spong on the far left and Bishop Kelshaw firmly on orthodox ground, a "manifest token" as Hooker would say that Steve has found the via media!

Trip to the Altar

This block is called Trip to the Altar and I chose it to represent my marriage to Steve.
Last night while we were getting ready for bed I thought about my upcoming birthday. I will turn 44 this month, and I realized I have spent more years with Steve that without him. Its a strange thing when you think about it, hitching your life to another persons...especially if that person is from New Jersey! We just got back from a wedding in New Jersey, our niece Kelly who attended our own wedding when she was twelve finally tied the not with her significant other Lou.
I remember my first trip to New Jersey to meet Steve's family, it was surreal to say the least. Steve comes from a large family and when you add in spouses and children and the occasional cousin or family of the in laws and long time friends the crowd can be overwhelming. Not to mention sitting in a crowd of people all talking with thick New Joisy accents. Now, having spent the last 22 years in the family I feel less of an outsider at the gatherings. I know who everybody is, and I have been to the familiar places in New Jersey often enough now that it seems less foreign to me. Plus, now that the grand kids have started marrying, I am no longer the newest member of the family, a torch I am happy to finally pass. I wonder who will be the next one to make a trip to the altar? I think the smart money is on our niece Pam and her new boyfriend Ryan!

Monday, October 11, 2010

While we are on the subject of Steve

I sure won the husband lottery when I married Steve. At the end of my epic Journey this is what I found. he had sent flowers to NM to be there when I got there, a dozen multi colored roses complete with a little recorded message that played when you pressed the white spot on the heart. It was a beautiful surprise and the roses lasted for days and days reminding me of what a good guy I married. There was another bouquet too! My Mom, before Steve's roses came bought some yell0w roses,my favorite! So when I went into the room that was mine for the next two months there was another big bouquet looking so perfect I doubted they were real and had to take a closer look. What a treat to be showered with roses! I tell you nothing makes you feel more special than unexpected flowers! The best are the ones that come to the door completely unexpected. The doorbell rings and you are annoyed because you look like hell and don't want to answer it, but you do because it could be important...and there they stand with a bouquet of flowers just for you. Its like being queen for a day, no?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Born in the USA

I tease Steve a lot calling him a first generation American or a Canadian. This because his mother was Canadian and moved south as a child and became a naturalized citizen as a young adult. Recently Canada amended its laws and as a result Steve is eligible for Canadian citizenship. But you really cannot find a more true blue American. He gets sappy when they play the National Anthem and he has had a life long fascination with Washington DC and the American Presidency, it almost borders on obsession! He has been told to cease and desist by the secret service more than once! Its actually not as sinsiter as it sounds, but it is true. Once in DC a secret service guy who was clearing the road for a presidential motorcade told Steve he could not talk to him "because as it says on my hat, its SECRET!" Shortly after George W rolled by in his limo and smiled and waved right to us as we stood on the street corner. But better still was the time when the secret service singled him out in Hawaii, noting that they had spotted him in the throng more than once when president elect Obama was coming out of the gym at KMCB. Steve cannot be faulted though, Obama should not have singled him out for a handshake and brief conversation the first time, thereby encouraging Steve to return again with his camera and son hoping for another such encounter. When the Secret Service guy pulled Steve aside and told him he "was starting to get noticed, and not in a good way" Steve decided to leave off stalking the president. A good choice I think.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Home is where the Air Force sends me

First let me start by apologizing for the sideways picture. Sometimes my camera and computer do things without being told to and I have not figured out how to undo the damage. Its much easier to beg forgivness than to figure out how to fix it.

This is the last of the blocks that represent me. I chose a wee house because I am such a homebody. I have heard people complain about being stuck at home, bored because there was nothing to do. I just cannot fathom that. There is always something for me to do at my house. I may be tired, or restless, frustrated, but never bored. I genuinely like being at home, and I have had plenty of them too! I have lived in no less than 16 houses/apartments, 10 towns, 6 states and three countries. I am not counting all the extended stays in hotels and billeting between moves! The weird thing is that no matter if I am living in stairwell houseing in Europe, a Hale in Kailua, or a split level duplex in Nebraska, my house has always felt like home to me. The one constant is the china cabinet. We have changed our furniture over the years, but not the china cabinet. Its been with us for almost our entire marriage and has been in 9 of my 16 homes. We even hang our Christmas stockings from the knobs of the china cabinet. Some of our homes have had fireplaces, and some have not, but they all had the china cabinet! All this moving around has surely taught me that Home is what and where I make it. Its been easy up till now. Without Zach this house somehow does not quite cut it, even with the china cabinet. I am looking forward to his visit in a few months and wonder if this new place he has never seen will feel like home to him at all. I know it will at least finally feel like it to me.