Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Glorious Month

My new studio was completed just before Christmas 2006 - what a Christmas present! For the past 15 years I've been quilting in the attic of our 2 bedroom bungalow in LaGrange. In June 2006 we contracted with Greckowski to demo our attic and put on a true second floor. The result is a fabulous, big space that is 25" x 25" plus a bathroom and a walk-in closet. We are still finishing with the painting and organizational touches. See the pictures at in the Gallery.

You know from the previous post that my dear college buddy died mid-December after an 18-month battle with lung cancer. All the sewing I've done since then, both commissions and projects of choice, include thoughts of Dodie - it's how I grieve. Today I finished a quilt for her daughter Virginia who is moving into an apartment in Chicago.

Despite my grief, I am glorying in my workspace. After months of sewing in a temporary studio down the street (thanks to Ana and Miguel and their daughter Cristina), I love sewing in my own house again. I love sewing as I watch the sun rise. I love sewing in my pajammas. I love my windows. I love my solar tubes. I love my studio.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Best of Times, Worst of Times

I've been retired from the Chicago Public Schools for 18 months now. While I love being retired and being able to quilt for fun and profit, it was exactly 18 months ago that my college roommate Dodie told me she had lung cancer. The first fall of my retirement I was ecstatic to not be in a school. But I didn't necessarily want to be at the Cancer Pavillion at the University of Indiana - Purdue University either.

Dodie went through 8 weeks of Chemo and Radiation that fall. Her husband Furman took her for the first two weeks. Her daughter Mani had a week. So did friend Deborah from Indianapolis. Furman's sisters Jean and Nancy each took a week. I was the Week 5 driver and actually got the best end of things. With Nancy Dodie was sick. With Jean she lost her hair. Dodie did ok during my week. One day we were at the hospital for 12 hours, but I had my hand quilting project with me. These hours with Dodie were like a good, long, lazy visit - with the exception of Dodie having tubes of chemicals dripping into her. She was remarkably upbeat as we shuffled from the Infusion floor to the Radiation floor. I finished my hand project by machine and gave Dodie her quilt in January, 2006.

2006 was the "Wait and See" year, but Dodie's cancer metastasized to her liver by the spring of 2006. Her health was good enough to thoroughly enjoy the family vacation and her birthday in Myrtle Beach in July. But then pain management became a key concern.

She died December 18, 2006 - just as the finishing touches were being put on my new quilting studio. Dodie asked me during the summer to write and deliver her eulogy. Her memorial service was December 22, 2006. What a sad end to the year.