Midwest Knit Girl

After much thought and deliberation and listening to advice from people I care about, I’ve decided to start a new blog. My life has changed considerably over the last year or so and I feel that I need a new place to talk about it.

Welcome to Cakers & Co.

The “Cakers” reference is from RT who calls me that as a shortened version of Patty Cakes.

 

(Please pardon the ads that are showing up in my post, they’ve never done this before and I am not pleased. Bear with me while I try to figure out how to get rid of them.)

About six months ago I entertained the idea of changing the name of my blog, what I write about and what it looks like.  But I quickly realized that’s so much easier than one might think, and  I promptly dismissed the idea because I wasn’t up for the challenge.

But now I feel strong enough and excited enough to attempt that challenge, and to start I thought I would ask those who read my blog what their thoughts are on how to proceed. Below are a few questions I have about making this change that I don’t have answers for.

  • What facet of my life do I want the name based on?
  • Do I just make up a phrase that makes me laugh?
  • Do I spend quality time thinking about and examining what is important to me and come up with a new name that way?
  • What kind of design do I want it to have? Do I base it on color, people, places, things?
  • What should I write about? Just keep it random as I have and not focus on one particular kind of topic (i.e. knitting)?

What suggestions do you have, those who’ve read this for so long (and newcomers) for coming up with a new name? I welcome any and all suggestions – let’s brainstorm, shall we?

I haven’t done one of these album covers for a long time so I decided to give it a shot today. Below are the instructions on how to do your own. It says to tag others so they’ll do it as well but I’m not going to do that. Feel free to go play though, I find it quite interesting the combination that popped up for me!

1 – Go to wikipedia and hit random. The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band. 2 – Go to quotationspage.com and hit random…. The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album. 3 – Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days” Third picture, no matter …what it is, will be your album cover. 4 – Use photoshop or similar (picnik.com is a free online photo editor) to put it all together. 5 – Post it with this text in the “caption” and TAG the friends you want to join in….

Over the last nearly five months since Christmas I have often had a subject for a post run through my head that I felt my blogger friends might be interested in but only put out two of them. As far as others I never did anything about them beyond writing the whole thing – in my head – around 2 a.m. during a restless night of sleeping. So then the next day, poof,  it’s done so no need to do an actual post.

But you know what? I really miss blogging and I really, truly miss the comradery that exists between bloggers (and their followers, actually). Yes, I do a monthly post for Stella but that’s not the same as doing one for me and those I care about. I’ve even slacked off on checking on my favorite blogs Kitten With A Whiplash and One Little Acorn. And those two particular people have become very good friends over the course of the last few years and I so enjoy reading their blogs; so let it be known that I’m giving myself ten lashes with a wet noodle for being so uninvolved and note that I vow to become involved once again, starting now.

So what the devil have I been up to? Well, one thing I became involved with since December are online dating services. I know, I know it seems kind of weird or scary or whatever. But my intention at first was simply to see what it was all about; I had zero intention of going out with anyone much less communicating with them. Let me tell you, I discovered  that there truly are some creepos out there. One site was so icky I quickly closed that account and opened another one elsewhere. That one cost me money though, so after thinking that through (rather slowly, obviously, since I was on there two months, I had decided that I wanted to start communicating because why not, can’t hurt to talk) but I quit that one also.

Let’s just get one thing straight right now that I discovered or perhaps had confirmed while using these sites. Men are fickle. Don’t let anyone tell you that women are the fickle ones, it’s the guys. I would begin communicating with someone and let them know that although they seem interesting enough, that I’d like to communicate via email for a while before actually meeting them in person (in my head I’m screaming “Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!” ). I can’t recall if it was two or three times that this happened but they stopped communicating with me after that note. Why?? Heck if I know. If anyone shouldn’t be pushed too fast if you want a relationship to work out it’s women. Fickle, stupid men.

Clearly, those guys weren’t for me. Or perhaps I should say I wasn’t the right gal for them. Then I decided to go on a coffee date with someone after exchanging a few emails, he seemed pleasant enough with a good sense of humor and all that jazz. This was back in early February. We met up and I felt instantly it wasn’t going to work, I felt zero physical attraction. But later when I started to tell him in an email that I wasn’t interested in seeing him again I thought it would only be fair to try again because I wondered to myself, “Is two hours really enough time to know if there’s a connection or not?” I decided it might not be so I agreed to a second date.

Two hours was definitely enough. The second date was, well, let’s just say it was a very long evening. Perfectly acceptable human being but it occurred to me that he reminded me of my birth father. He wasn’t his age but there were just some personality traits that reminded me of R (which are fine and dandy, mind you) which means I would always be thinking of R with this person and as I don’t want to date my father, well, that ended that relationship.

Then the oddest thing happened a day or so later. I felt as though I’d cheated on Frank who had passed away nearly a year earlier. So after speaking with two of my best friends we determined that it meant one of two things or perhaps both, actually. One, I must not be ready for a relationship and or two, that particular man wasn’t right for me. Well, I knew number two was definitely it but I wasn’t buying into number one 100% yet. So I put my account on hold for a couple of weeks to think things over.

When I returned to the site the first week in March to check emails and clean up messages I discovered someone’s profile had been submitted to my mailbox (actually, the site is called OkCupid and they put matches into your ‘quiver’ that you decide to acknowledge or delete). What was odd is that technically speaking it shouldn’t have landed there based on the % of a match it put us at. The match was 54%, yeah, you read that right, 54%. What the heck?

So what did I do? I read his profile – and wow, was it LONG – and decided to send him a message because if nothing else, I could see he had one hell of a sense of humor (sarcastic as all get out) so I sensed I could say pretty much anything and not offend him. Well, I believe I started out with something like “Look how stupid Cupid is putting your profile into my quiver – be careful responding to that!”

Well, he responded (‘he’ having the name Kelvin, check the definition, interesting name), I replied back and as they say, the rest is history.

Yes, we’re a couple. Gulp. Still getting used to that but enjoying it so much I can hardly explain it. He’s really good for me in many ways and I think we’re onto something pretty darn fabulous. I still think of Frank now and again, naturally, as we were together 15 years before he passed away. So he pops up now and again in my head and I think that’s okay.

See, Frank told me not long before he died that he wouldn’t want me to be alone the rest of my life, that I should continue to enjoy life and to do that with someone else. He didn’t want me to dwell on what I’d lost with him, rather, remember what was so good about it and move forward. So that’s what I’ve done. I’ve begun to move forward to create my new ‘normal’. With Kelvin.

Watch for a post coming shortly with lots of juicy information.

Picture taken July, 1995

On Sunday, February 21, 2010, we brought Frank home to begin hospice.  We knew he didn’t have much time to live and so we were going to do whatever we could to make the remainder of his life as comfortable as possible. The living room was set up in such a way that he had his picture window to enjoy the sunshine, the stereo so he could listen to music, a clock added to the wall so he knew the time, the phone by him…all the comforts he would need.

An amazing group of people were always around during the last five or six weeks before Frank died – Sean, Mike, Shona, Ruth, Lock, Lisa, Bob, Jim and Dale. Each of these individuals took huge amounts of time out of their lives to be there for Frank whenever he asked them to be. Or in some cases, demanded it. (Right, Sean? Can you say “MOA, now!”) From the time he was brought to the hospital on January 26th via ambulance to the day he died, February 28, at least two of those people in that group were with him all the time. Sean and Mike, for sure you were his main soldiers and had his back and he told you that – that was high praise as you well know; he certainly wasn’t one to give compliments lightly.

Tuesday, February 23, a massage therapist from hospice came over to be with Frank. I went into the kitchen to pay some bills and give them some privacy. As the therapist began the session Frank made a noise, sort of a grunt or ‘oof’ like sound. The therapist asked him if he was okay and he said yes. She asked if he would like to talk about it as sometimes people experience things at this point. He just said “Everything is going to be okay.”

I heard him say that and I knew exactly what he meant by it. We’d had long, long discussions on how I was going to survive financially, how I was going to take care of the house on my own, and how I was going to be emotionally when he was gone. I nearly cried when I heard him say that but I also knew that meant he had just made the first step in the direction he was headed, his new path, and his new ‘life’ so to speak.

As the week progressed and his health continued to decline I still held out hope that Ruth (who adored Frank as he adored her) would be able to be there with us before Frank passed. She was in NY at the time on business and I was reassured time and again by the nurse that Frank would hang on longer than he eventually did, so we didn’t push to have her come home. But obviously, the nurse couldn’t have known that Frank would slip away before Ruth could be here to say her own good bye. I personally think that although Frank loved Ruth, he didn’t want her to see him at the end. That wasn’t the image he wanted to leave her with.

Numerous friends and relatives visited throughout the week and that was so appreciated by Frank and me. But eventually I had to tell everyone that visits were going to be severely limited because he was becoming agitated easily, even with Sean or Mike and just me here.  I hated to do that but his comfort was an absolute priority. Even with my increasing his morphine dosages he still was fidgeting, I couldn’t stand to watch that with people here.

On the 27th we had a number of people over and if I remember correctly I cut that day short with visitors because he was more out of it than not. I needed to be with him to keep him calm and the less noise at that point the better he rested.

On Sunday, February 28, 2010, I put out a blog post around 10:00 am letting people know they now had to call before coming to see Frank. They could no longer just drop by. Sean and Mike were the exceptions and I also knew they would be there later in the day.

From the time I put out that post until just moments before he died, I knew something was happening. I honestly didn’t know what it was but I knew something had changed. The energy, for lack of a better term, was different in the house. I had to be in the same room with him, I needed to be, I physically couldn’t bring myself to leave his side. Even though he wasn’t responsive at the time I talked to him about the fact I loved all the trips we took together and how much fun they were, and how he was the love of my life, how it was a good thing we never went to bed angry at each other because it was so much more fun being happy, how I knew I was going to be okay and that he didn’t need to worry about me.

Sweet stuff.

Silly stuff.

Our stuff.

I told him I loved him and I kissed him, and hugged him the best I could without hurting him.

Later I was sitting next to the bed, just being quiet, touching his arm lightly. I knew then it was close. I felt it in my gut. He moved a bit and then took two calm breaths with a pause in between, just in and out, very slowly. And he was gone. After that and before I called anyone, I spent time with him, just me. No one else. It was my turn, my time. I wanted more time than nearly 15 years but you have to appreciate what you get, right? I held his hands, I patted the arm that was nearest to me. I kissed him, I hugged him and tidied the blankets around him. Then I started the calls beginning with Mike.

To all of those great people who were there for Frank and also for me back then – because I was watching the most important person in my life die before my very eyes, I thank you once again. I’ve said that before and I’ll repeat it time and again. You have supported and given me much comfort (including laughter!), then and still to this day. I truly feel so blessed because not many people are this fortunate to have the network of support I had during Frank’s illness and since his passing.

I know this phrase sounds so cliché but since Frank died I began a new chapter in my life and while at times there have been great challenges, there has also been joy and laughter, new experiences and new friends made. My family, Frank’s family, our mutual friends and my own friends – they have continued to be a part of my life and I am eternally grateful for that.

There is a place in my heart that is reserved solely for my love and memories of Frank, and it will remain there forever. No one can replace him and no one can be Frank Asher again. He was an experience of a lifetime, not perfect by any means but he was the most loyal individual I ever knew and if you were the same to him, you were blessed to be a part of that experience.

I love you, Frank. May you rest in peace.


Having lived here all of my life I am well aware that Minnesota is the land of snow and ice for many months of the year (too many by the way, feel free to shorten the time frame a bit). But this deep freeze we’re in? Was it absolutely necessary? People are beginning to freeze off body parts that they’d prefer to keep, in fact, some body parts are disappearing within their bodies and one doesn’t know if they’ll come out again. That would not be the female population, ahem.

I’m having a little gathering tomorrow afternoon with a few friends and it would be marvelous if you would adjust the temperatures up a tidge. Oh, I don’t know, maybe in the teens ABOVE zero? Not that we’ll be playing outside but their cars need the ability to start in order to come over and enjoy good food and company.

So dearest, darling, adorable Mother Nature – I beseech you…warm up? Please? Por favor? S’il vous plait? Bitte? Vær så snill? Any other language that would help move the temps along??

Love from Minnesota,

Patty

 

For those not familiar with our lovely state we are currently in a deep freeze. Literally. My neck of the woods this morning had a temperature of -29 Fahrenheit, that’s with the wind factored in. Up north about 3 hours or so from me the temperature is -29 WITHOUT the wind factored in, that would probably make it -40 including it.

Brrrr.

Off to find my long underwear and Stella, she’s going to keep my neck warm or she won’t get fed today. Once we warm up Stella will be updating her blog with her own opinion about our snappy weather.

Down, Stella!

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