Midwest Knit Girl

Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category

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.


This is a photo intensive post  and you can click on each photo to see it larger. You can also just hover with your mouse over each one to see where/what it is. There are many more pictures to see so feel free to look around once you click over to the pictures and their locations.

Recently I took a little vacation to New York City. I flew in to LaGuardia Airport and from there took a taxi to a a guest house in midtown Manhattan, to meet up with a blogging friend from Australia and her mother. It would be the first time we would meet, live and in person, so I hoped we would all get along as we’d be spending four days together in small quarters. Turns out there was no reason to even give that a thought as we all felt as though we’d known each other for years.

Below is a photo of the building our guest house (Sutton Residence) is located in – the steps lead up to a barber shop, above that for two floors is the residence itself. The level below the barber shop is a bar called SNAFU. It was an interesting place to stay, there are six rooms for guests who share three bathrooms and the owner lives on site as well. Extremely nice man, that Bruce, and he knows the city so he was quite helpful.

One of the first things we decided to do, thanks to Cinta’s research, was buy a New York Pass for each of us. This is a great little book and card pass with all sorts of discounts and many, many freebies. I purchased a three day pass and Cinta and her Mum each purchased a seven day pass as they were going to be there longer.
The New York Pass

We also purchased a boarding pass that would allow us to hop on and hop off the double-decker buses at specific stops throughout New York City. We utilized those a lot not only for hopping on and off but for the city tours themselves. Well worth the money.

So what did we do, you ask? Let me show you.
Ticket Stubs

Oh, sorry. You wanted more detail than ticket stubs? I totally understand, so here goes.

The 9th Anniversary Memorial Service for the 9/11 Attacks – It may not have been so quiet as to hear a pin drop, but let me tell you, it was damn close. Emotions were obvious and there was a respectable silence that I wouldn’t have expected with such a large crowd. I was literally moved to tears more than once and I didn’t know one soul who lost a life that day…but clearly, I didn’t need to.

9/11 Memorial Service9/11 Memorial Service9/11 Memorial 9.11.2010 New York

9/11 Memorial 9.11.2010 New York9/11 Memorial 9.11.2010 New York

Tribute in Lights – A total of 88 searchlights are lit each year to commemorate the attacks, two columns of light pointed towards the sky. I was fortunate enough a number of times to catch them in pretty good detail.

Tribute in Lights9.11.2010 Tribute in Lights Viewed From Brooklyn

Times Square – This was a loud, flashy, busy area with taxis honking and people everywhere. A block down was the M&M store.  Nearby was the Kodak wall and the Naked Cowboy. Yep. He’s not a myth, he’s the real deal. Oh, I almost forgot – Cookie Monster and Elmo, too, standing by the No Standing Anytime sign. When you click to see the Kodak photo larger (third picture below), try to find the three of us in the picture, I’m wearing a turquoise top, I dare ya…).
Times SquareM&M's

Can you find us?

Naked Cowboy

Cookie and Elmo

Parks – We experienced Central Park, Bryant Park and Peace Park (though this one only from the top of one of the tour buses). We also found out that parks are squares, squares are triangles, and circles are something completely different as well. Never mind, it made sense to us at the time of the tours.

Central Park View From Museum

Central Park

Bryant Park

Bryant Park

 

Peace Park

Peace Park

 

Museums – We visited the Guggenheim (by the way, you aren’t supposed to take pictures in there, oops, at least the guard was nice when he reprimanded me) and the American Museum of Natural History. Outside of the Guggenheim was a gentleman doing caricatures, so he did mine. He was so detailed, he even has me knitting with the ball of yarn turning into a bike (I like to bike as well as knit – but not at the same time) along with my favorite building in New York – The Chrysler Building.

Guggenheim MuseumGuggenheim Museum

American Museum of Natural HistoryAmerican Museum of Natural History

 

Me

Statue of Liberty – Cinta’s mum (I like saying that – mum) and I walked up to the pedestal level while Cinta relaxed down on the grounds. The sun was out so soaking up a bit of it I’m sure was a good thing for her to do. The woman in the middle picture below was being photographed by someone and this was her third try jumping for the picture – I thought maybe I could help so I took a picture, too. I’m kidding. I just thought it would be fun to try – she has no idea I got the shot.

Woman Jumping For Picture

Ellis Island – There was an amazing amount of great history with interesting architecture – plus a very cool face/flag display. And birds. Lots of birds. Birds that took people’s food off their plates. Not mine. I like my food, I protected my food from the little devils.

This is the face angle of the flag picture.This is the flag angle of the face picture.

Street Signs and Advertising – Just what it says. Wherever you go you see advertising and interesting street signs. Including upside down ones like the first one below. Yeah, I’m confused about that too. Maybe it’s supposed to be that way?? And I love the honking penalty one…but ironically, this is a city that has music all…night…long. But you can’t honk in some of the same places. Hmmm.

Upside DownWho Is Salt

Brooklyn BridgePret

Purple Dress Don't Honk

I have many more photos but I think this is plenty to whet your appetites for now. I’ll leave you with one last picture that has my favorite building in the background (I believe I mentioned this before…yes, it’s the Chrysler Building). It was taken on Lexington Avenue in the middle of a market that was set up for the day. Lots of delicious food and things to buy.

I do have a few stories to tell but I’ll hold off on those until next week. Want an idea of what one is? NBC Studios offers tours and they need volunteers at the end of the tour to do something. I did that something. Tune in next week to find out more.

Lexington Avenue Sunday Market

 

I held a party last Saturday in honor of my husband, Frank, who passed away February 28, 2010. The day was so hot and sticky but we all stuck it out. Did you catch that? Sticky? Stuck it out? Hmmm.

Anyway, the temp apparently hit 93 degrees but I’m sure with the humidity it was closer to feeling like 100. You couldn’t be outside and not start sweating within moments. There was air conditioning in the house and I had fans going in the car-port area, garage, back patio and the deck. Some people even braved playing badminton in the sweltering temps! Um, not me. I was wearing a dress. For those who know me, it’s been a very long time since I’ve done that but sometimes you have to go outside your comfort zone and roll with it. I rolled.

There were lots of treats – popcorn, sno-cones, bars, cookies, banana bread, chips and salsa, fruits and veggies, crackers and dip, and water, water, water, water!

We also had storms. Wow, big storms happening all around us. But the last of us stayed under the car-port enjoying the evening as long as we could since it wasn’t hitting us yet. We didn’t move until the rain started coming sideways. I don’t think we wanted the day to end. I didn’t.

My best guess is somewhere between 55-60 people strolled through throughout the day. I saw friends that I hadn’t hooked up with in years, lots of family including those that live out of state, many of the neighbors came, Frank’s awesome friends were here as were mine. All in all, it was one fine day.

Thank you to everyone who came, in spite of the weather we still had a grand time. I still say Frank was with us in the form of the one, single, solitary rose that bloomed on the bush out front. How could that not be him? There hadn’t been buds or flowers on that bush in weeks, yet on the day before the party there was a bud. Then the day of the party –  it bloomed. It was his rose bush, ergo, it was Frank.

I love you, Frank. Thank you for being such a big part of my life and letting me be part of yours. We had some special connection, you and I, that I’ve never had with anyone else. Wherever you are, I’m betting you’re rocking the casbah in a big way!!

And now for your viewing pleasure, a few pictures. I didn’t get photos of even an nth of the people who came, for that I apologize. I just sort of, kind of, got busy with the party and forgot. 🙂

Me, Lisa

Lisa and I

Ruth, Me

Ruth and I

Sean, Lock, Me, Ruth

Sean, Lock, Me, Ruth

My step-father, Kim, and JT

Kim and Jim

Carly, Brandon, Peggy, Michelle (and her little dog, too)

Sanko's

Ruth, Bonnie

Ruth and Bonnie

Glenn, Auntie, Uncle

Glenn, Uncle Don, Auntie Von

Kris, Kat, Me
Kris, Kat and Me

My brother, Brian, Mom, Me, my sister, Deb

Mom and her kids

Me, Michelle

My cousin Michelle and me

Brian, Mom

Brian and Mom

Leo (Bonnie’s husband)

Leo

Rose Bush With One Rose

One Rose

One, Single, Solitary Rose: AKA Frank

Frank's Rose

DW

Posted on: June 17, 2010

One of my very best friends lost her younger son unexpectedly this past Sunday. The wake is today and the funeral tomorrow. This should not have happened, children aren’t supposed to die before their parents. It just feels so damn surreal. He was only 17.

I’m staying here at my friend’s house with her and her family until she’s okay with me leaving, and I’ve said it before over the past few days in various conversations, and I’m sure I’ll say it many, many times again – the looks on DW’s (and his brother RW) friends faces and his brother’s friends, really tear at my heart. His parents and family are torn apart, all of the young friends are grieving, the parents of those children – everyone is still in shock. There’s a numbness that just cannot be described.

But then there’s a little laughter tossed in once in a while that makes some of us feel a little bad afterwards, how can you laugh in the face of such tragedy?? However, I noticed that sometimes that laughter is almost on the edge of hysterical, I don’t know how else to explain that. But I think it’s because tears leak out at the same time.

To DW:

I pray for you the pain has been relieved and I pray you’re in peace, sweetie. You will be permanently in my heart forever so I can remember you and your smile. The last time I saw you was at Frank’s funeral service when you gave me a hug and told me you were sorry about Frank, I know you meant it too. Now I want you to go with Frank and your Grandpa and others you know when they come, they’ll take you under their wings and guide you where you need to go. I love and miss you. Rest In Peace, DW.

Sometimes I think I need to change my blog name to Midwest Sew Girl…seem to be doing a lot more sewing than knitting! Better yet, maybe Midwest Fiber Girl? That kind of covers all of it, doesn’t it?

Sachets for gifts:

cedar filled sachets for KEB

cedar filled sachets for BA

Double point needle pouches (also shown tied as a package):

dp needle holders

dp needle holders packaged

Reusable grocery bag for a swap on swap-bot:

reusable grocery bag made for swap on swap-bot

close up of stitching on bag

Lately spent a little time with my cousin, her kids, her grandkids, my auntie and uncle – good times. No, I’m not in these pics…I hate having my picture taken so enjoy these instead. 🙂

jaden nana mommy

jaden and his mommy

Muffin bread from the neighbor, um, looks kind of naughty now that we’ve cut some of it off – or maybe I’ve just had too much eggnog (wink!):

muffin bread from neighbor - a bit naughty looking!

Gorgeous Pasmina shawl from my step-daughter for Christmas, thank you so much KEB. 🙂

pashmina scarf from KEB for christmas

The Hubster relaxing (I saved the best for last):

hubster relaxing

I heart fall. I do, I do, I do. The wind, the cloudy skies (and often bright and sunny ones), the smell of wet leaves. I know I’m probably odd that way but it works for me – so there. Unfortunately, the hubster prefers summer or at least more sunshine than I do. Can’t win them all from Mother Nature!

I had no idea it had been so long since my last post. What has been going on, you ask?

  • I finished knitting the lace scarf with the yarn I received from Gimmesanity and will be blocking it this week. It’s so pretty!
  • I started a pair of socks this weekend with the yarn I received from Yarny Old Kim.
  • I made 156 cloth coasters for an arts and crafts fair and sold….drum roll please…ZERO! However, I gave two sets to a friend of my hubster’s, one for him and one for his parents. His mother loved them and said “It was the wrong crowd to sell them to because these are priced just right and they’re really cute.” That made me feel better because she’s been to and sold items at a ton of places. Another friend said perhaps beer cozies would have been better for them to which I added, why not sell cut off tshirts to let that old muffin top hang out along with the beer cozies? Haa! If nothing else, people will be getting coasters as stocking stuffers for a few years to come. I may also try to sell them at a consignment shop or at my etsy store. No big deal. 🙂
  • I’ve really been getting into sewing. Don’t tell my knitting needles but it’s really been fun and I think I’m addicted to a new technique! I’m in a swap on swap-bot.com to exchange string pieced quilt blocks using shades of pink (October is breast cancer awareness month which is when this one will be swapped, hence the color choice of pink). The finished size is 12.5 x 12.5 which when you create your quilt or whatever you’ll make with it, it will be 12 x 12, and you have to make two of them as you have two partners. I made three. I loved the fabrics I picked so much I wanted one of them! Those will get mailed out next week.
  • I’m also in another swap on swap-bot.com to make more string pieced quilt blocks but in a much smaller size (finished mailing size 6.5 x 6.5 to be used as a final size of 6 x 6). The beauty of this swap is that there isn’t a specific color theme so you can go crazy with your fabric scraps and not have to buy any fabric at all. For the bigger one I did in pink I did have to buy fabric. But I bought fat quarters, five of them, spent $10 and got three blocks out of all that fabric. In fact I know I could get one more in that size out of it so really – $2.50 per quilt block in that big of a size? Deal of the century!
  • Fall semester started Aug 26th so I’ve been in school four days a week. Afternoons, really, except for Tuesday’s when it’s pretty much all day. I am still enjoying it though am also still annoyed at the young ones who play on facebook or IM their friends when the instructor is lecturing. I’m just so big on respect and this is just plain rude. But one of my very good friends is a middle school teacher pointed out that this is a whole different culture today then we were in school. Simply no comparison between having a blackberry or cell phone versus paper and pencil and a push button land line. 🙂
  • I’m behind on photos of things so my next post will be just that, photos.

Later, ya’ll.

I am so tickled. Especially since the last 48 hours or so haven’t been much fun for us (see cancer blog link). Yarny Old Kim sent me a gift – just because! – and it’s so pretty and so beautiful I almost don’t want to tell you because you may become jealous. But I will.

She sent me a gorgeous skein of Pagewood Farm, Hand Dyed Sock Yarn “Alyeska”, the colorway is called Mardi Gras (Mardi Gras is number 12, scroll down the page to see the picture). Talk about a happy skein with fun colors!! She also included a single-use thingy of Soak (it’s purple and scented, called A Scent for Celebration). The card was a hoot…it has a picture of three urinals on the front and on the inside is a personal message from her  but the back of the card has its name which is “Urine My Thoughts”. Yes, Kim and I both have an odd sense of humor.

Thank you a billion times over for such a lovely surprise, Kim. It’s making everything else that much easier to get through. You ROCK! 🙂


Down, Stella!

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