Sunday, July 8, 2007

Bits and Pieces

I thought today I'd just talk about the bits and pieces of things going on in my little world here in Sacramento, so grab yourself a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and let's chat.

I'm getting kinda tired of quilting my monster quilt. Okay, a lot tired! I still have quite a way to go though. Of course, I have gotten quite a bit done too, so at least I'm seeing progress. Maybe I'll get a photo of my progress in the next few days so I can show you how it's coming along.

I've got my next applique block designed for the Americana quilt. I need to draw up a clean copy and once I do, I'll get a photo of that to show you too. This one has an apple theme. Remember I mentioned I was thinking about apples and apple pie? What could be more American?! LOL!

7/7/07 wasn't such a great day for me in some ways. If you haven't been reading my blog for very long, I'll give you a quick recap. If you have, just skip ahead. Back in March, a couple weeks after I started this blog, my parents were in an auto versus tree single-car accident when my dad became confused and couldn't move his foot from the gas onto the brake pedal. My mom had the worst injuries with broken ribs and other problems, but my dad developed a bleed in his brain and passed away about a month later.

Since my dad's death, my brother and I have been helping my mom out with all the necessary arrangements and financial matters, and as of Mother's Day, my mom told us she wanted to stay in their mobile home for a year before making any decisions. About two weeks later, she sold it and nearly all its contents without talking to me or my brother. We're still not sure exactly what made her change her mind, but she's moving at the end of the month down to Salinas to live with her childhood best friend who is also a widow. I'm pretty sure they're going to drive each other nuts, and then what will my mom do? She really has no plan beyond this and all she has besides her monthly Social Security check is the money from the sale of her home.

Personally, I'm sure my mom's getting ripped off on this deal. She won't say exactly how much she's getting for all her furnishings and we're trying not to push, but it's apparently something in the range of $1,000 to $4,000. Yesterday, my husband and I went up to Oroville to get a few of the things she didn't sell in the deal. It practically broke my heart to look around at all the furniture and wonderful things she's had all my life and know that they belong to someone else at a fraction of their worth. It's hard to put a realistic price on everything, but I have to guess it would be somewhere around $50,000 because she has some very nice quality furnishings as well as some vintage pieces of this and that that would be in high demand on eBay or anywhere else.

As if that weren't upsetting enough, while we were there loading these few things that my mom did keep for me into my husband's van, a neighbor from across the street came hurrying over to make sure my mom wasn't letting us take anything that was part of the sale--turns out his brother is the one buying the mobile home. That was a needlessly unpleasant experience at a difficult time!

There are things that have been sold that my brother and I would like to have had passed down to us given the opportunity, but it's too late now. My mom did keep a few things out of the sale for us that she knew we wanted, and we have our choice of other items that the new owners didn't want. As my husband and I keep reminding ourselves, the mobile home and all my mom's possessions are hers to do whatever she wants with--I just wish she had gotten some impartial advice and/or at least talked it over with my brother and me before making such a big decision.

In any event, I was able to get two of my mom's paintings. That, in itself, is a whole other long story, but I'll sum it up by saying that for some reason, my mom seems perfectly happy to give her paintings to everyone but me, so ending up with two of them was quite a feat. And I am, by the way, grateful and pleased with the things I was able to bring home with me yesterday, so the day wasn't too bad, all things considered.

The painting that's been my favorite since my mom painted it in my teens is one of the two I brought home with me, and it's now hanging in my livingroom. Here's a photo--sorry about the bit of glare:

The other one she pulled out of the closet as an afterthought. It looks great in my daughter's former room, although I need to have it reframed. Here's a photo of that one:

My mom's artistic period was short-lived; just about all of her pieces were painted in a span of about ten years during my pre-teen and teenage years. She claims that my dad didn't want her to paint anymore; I think, though, that she just got caught up in her alcoholism and lost interest. For Mother's Day, I bought her some art supplies so she can get back into sketching but I'm not sure she ever will.

Besides the two paintings, I brought home a little sewing cabinet that was my grandmother's. It's not very old as these things go--probably from the 1950s or early 1960s--but it was something I remember my grandmother keeping close by her chair in the living room for doing her mending, so it has sentimental value to me. If you push on the right side of the top "drawer," it spins out to reveal pegs to hold spools of thread.

I also brought home some of my grandmother's linens, and I got those washed and folded today. I know many people like to starch and iron their linens before putting them away, but I prefer to do that when I know I'm going to be using them. I understand that bugs are attracted to and will eat starch, so besides not wanting to stand around ironing for hours and hours, I figure it's best that they aren't starched ahead of time anyway. Any input on that? I'm curious about whether I'm the only one breaking tradition!

Two other pieces I brought home were a somewhat large, round end table and a tea cart. The round table fits perfectly between two chairs in my living room. The tea cart is wooden with colonial style spoked wheels, so I think it was probably made in the 1950s. Although it's solid wood, the top and folding sides were made from strips of wood rather than a solid piece, and those strips are cracking at the seams. I'd like to get that repaired one of these days. In the meantime, I gave all the wooden pieces a good washing with Murphy's Oil Soap and then I used a good wood food/wax on them, hoping to restore a little bit of the moisture to the wood.

Remember my post from a few days ago about that wonderful book by Susan Branch, The Summer Book? Last night I tried out the lemon linguini recipe and it was absolutely WONDERFUL! She has a basic recipe using linguini, lemon zest, lemon juice, parmesan, green onions, parsley, and olive oil. Then she gives several suggestions for additions to that recipe. I used one of her suggestions and added chopped tomato, slivered fresh basil, and toasted pine nuts. I swear it's to die for and well worth the price of the book for that recipe alone! I'm going to toss some of the leftovers with some cold grilled chicken breast and romaine for a nice dinner salad tomorrow night, I think.

Today, I've mostly worked on the monster quilt. For dinner, I made a pot of Mimi's corn chowder soup--yum! Now we have meals already made--or close to it--for another few nights.

Oh, and I wanted to mention in connection with yesterday's post about Uncle Charlie. A couple of you commented on my weird family. While I certainly DO have a weird family, Uncle Charlie wasn't one of them. Lisa is a very close friend--she and my sister-in-law might as well be the sisters I never had, although I'm not related to Lisa by blood--just by heart. I can just about always count on Lisa to either do or say something pretty entertaining when we get together. Sometimes I can share those things with you, and sometimes . . . well, maybe not! Although Lisa doesn't normally read my blog, she didn't seem to mind me telling you about Uncle Charlie when I mentioned the idea to her. I did tell her, though, that if she ever decides to run for President of the US, none of you would hold any of these stories against her or tell anyone else, right?!

I hope you've all had a wonderful weekend!


Leah S said...

Ohh, I'm so sorry she handled the whole thing so roughly. I'm glad you were able to get that sewing cabinet, it does look beautiful.

Just before Christmas we went to my grandfather's house and I asked myself VERY frankly, what would I treasure that most? I decided it would be 2 quilts that my great-great grandmother made and a sewing machine that belonged to my great-grandmother. That's it, that's all. If everything else was taken/gone, I could just sigh and move on knowing that I got what means the most to me.

But I wasn't too sure if I could claim those items. So I wrote my grandfather, asking for the quilts. He said yes, with no hesitations. It might have helped that I gave him a quilt of his own too. ;)

Then I asked about the sewing machine. See, he hasn't been willing to part with pretty much anything in the house. Oh, a thing here or there, but won't let us grand clean and organize his place. Almost like time has stood still for 20 years there. So I decided to give it a shot... could I have the sewing machine in the cabinet? He was surprised, but said it was fine. Whew! It's happily residing in my apartment now. :)

And if things get messy or nasty or confusing... I already have what I think means the world me. Sure, there's other things I could think about adding, but they don't hold the value that the quilts and machine do.

I hope you're able to fully treasure the pieces you did get, and that you will be able to look back without too much hurt over the things you can't get.

JudyL said...

Oh, Kim! I think you've just described what so many of us experience with aging parents. It just seems so unfair for someone to take advantage of old people. I know they could not take advantage of your mom had she not allowed it but you know they knew she was in no state to make that kind of decision and had the buyers been the least bit respectable, they would have involved you and your brother in the transaction.

I can only hope that your mom is happy with her friend.

Looks like you did get a few nice things that you'll be able to cherish through the years.

Families are amazing!

Anonymous said...

Here's a website you may find useful. is a site for friends, families, and those who suffer from various addictions.

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

Wow, she could really paint, what a pity other things made her give up her talent.
That is such an ordinary situatiob with her, I suppose the neighbors over the road have worked on her about this "good deal" and she has thought it sounds easy. Lucky you could get a few things, parents say kids are a worry...I reckon it really evens out!!!
Cheers, tracey
ps loved that a spool of thread "cost" you $75!

Vicky said...

I'm sorry you're going throug this, Kim, but it's out of your hands. The paintings are beautiful, and I absolutely love that sewing cabinet. A real treasure!

Sharon said...

Cheer up Kim, things could be worse for sure. At least you got those cool painting and they are very cool and that sewing table is awesome. I'm sorry about your father. I had no idea and hopefully your mother will be ok. My hubby is going thru alot with his mom and dad too. Mom has Alzheimers and they are both almost 90. Growing old sucks!!! But hey you got ME as a friend what else could you want or need? LOL