Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Reaney Family Club...

...had a wonderful time in San Francisco! The Club was so named by Kat, who was under the age of five and decided we needed to have a club, and proceeded to name it. These are the original founding members, Kat, Jud and Suz.

Here are Kat and Jud, overlooking the San Francisco Bay. They had just spent the afternoon at the Palace of the Legion of Honor viewing the Isabella Borchgrave paper fashion exhibit. Suz unfortunately missed seeing the wonderful work of this woman who makes lace out of paper!

Kat's boyfriend, Ashton, is an honorary member. He spent the weekend charming all of the mothers at the wedding with his ability to dance, more importantly, his willingness to dance with them (he is a fabulous dancer). 

Kat and her father relax on the lawn after a full day in San Francisco.

Coming next...the wedding of a lifetime!!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Chinatown In Living Color...

Here we are in San Francisco for the marriage of Karen and Cort. Karen is the son of our best man, Charlie (or Chark, as Jud and I still cann him). 

I love Chinatown. Jud and I lived here innSan Francisco for two years after we got married and called it our two year honeymoon. What a fun time for us two kids from South Dakota!
While Jud visited Haight Ashbury, Suz, Kat and Ashton, Kat's boyfriend took in Chinatown. Here are a few random shots of this fantiastically colorful place. 

Kat has always wished she were a mermaid. 

Suz loved Aslan the Lion long before he hit the screen.

You can always spot Ashton by his bandana!

We were perplexed that we saw many Christian churches but no buildings representing  Buddhism.

I would love to live in an apartment and decorate the outside with  yellow, red and green. 

We made a mess at our Dim Sum lunch. Yes that is a fried rooster foot holding our chopsticks.

We finally found Buddha in a restaurant.

Suz and Kat, both needle-phobic, kept their distance from this acupuncture office.

Aren't the grocery stores interesting? We didn't have the slightest clue what most things were but they were very pretty!

A great afternoon in Chinatown. Suz went home to nap while Kat and Ashton continued to explore.

The End. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Love Tags...

And I also love Pinterest. Is anyone with me? Alyssa, I know you are. It is a little mindless. Look. Love. Repin. But such beautiful mindlessness! I think it could qualify for a new form of meditation for those of us who are inclined to think this sort of thing is meditative (many would not appreciate...but they are out biking or working on their cars, etc.) 

I am making a few gifts. I always have thought "packaging is all." And of course, we must have tags with packages. Thus, we seek out Handmade Gift Tag inspiration on Pinterest. Here are some of my favorites...


Here we have a little simple but effective. Vintage buttons on supply tags from the paper store, a little scalloping on the bottom. Maybe we could use some Jenni Bowlin button copies! So cheerful!


Embellies taken to the max...springy and summery...or one that will even cheer up another rainy day in Minnesota.


Here is an ethical question for you. Am I stealing if I take paint chips from the store and I am not really painting?


Well, I confess. I did. 

On to birds. How I love them. I am trying to make lovely bird tags. After seeing some of the Birdsong tags from Karla Nathan's retreat, I am a little intimidated.


Ah, a lovely sewn bird tag...but I do not have courage to sew on paper yet. Help me, someone!!!!


We are getting closer. I love to cook tags. I dip them in my secret mixture of strong coffee and Haitian vanilla...yum! They smells wonderful, though they are a little wavey and wonky. My family thinks I am baking cookies. Sorry. 

One of these days, I will show you what I have come up with. I tend to have more of the Factory Type Worker style in crafting. I have 500 cooked tags ready to go and I then I get a little lost stamping the same nest on 300 of them. Still,  it is good Physical Therapy and someday you, too, may find a little package in your mailbox. 

Until then, I am heading back to Pinterest. Anyone want to join me?

P. S. Oh dear. I thought I made it clear that I got these from Pinterest. I apologize! Back to the drawing board. I will go get individual credits for the ones on here! 

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Circle of Love...

This piece is called "la Familia." This "familia" has had a hard couple of days. Jud's PET Scan showed three more spots on his liver and two more cancerous nodes. The difficult treatment he has been receiving for the past four cycles is not working. 

We are not sure what will happen next. Jud will hear more from his doctor today and we will be looking at some options. One of the possible treatments is the "hedgehog" treatment...nothing to do with hedge hogs but involving a way to stop the metabolic pattern the cancer takes. Unfortunately, it looks like Jud will not qualify. The next option is Gemcitabine, his first drug, and Ambraxine, similar to Taxol which has been used successfully with breast cancer. The catch here is that it has not been ok'd with pancreatic cancer. Jud's doctor, Melissa, will have to make an appeal for it's usage. My understanding is that is a hard process. At this moment, Jud received a call from his doctor and I believe he is hearing more possibilities. 

The one thing we know is that, in the midst of the sadness and chaos, we are feeling loved. We are deeply loved by our God and sincerely love each other as a family. The circle extends out to our extended family and out to my friends and, especially, my blog friends. With my fibromyalgia and neuropathy, I have so much time that I must spend at home and you have all become so important in my life. My fibro groups, the Committee of Mothers, my Silver Bella friends, my craft blog friends. You all are woven into my circle and that has kept me going and keeps us going. 

For that incredible gift, I am exceedingly grateful. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Think of Us...

Dear Friends,

I love this sculpture. We bought a copy of this on our last trip to Croatia and looking at her always gives me a feeling of peace.

Jud, Jan (his younger sister) and I are sitting at the cancer center, watching the cardinals and gold finch out the window, while Jud receives his chemo. We met with his doctor this morning and reviewed his CAT scan. The results were somewhat inconclusive. His liver is showing three spots instead of two and it is possible that there is some growth in the tumors. It is also possible that what is showing up on the scans is merely inflammation from chemo and radiation.

Jud will come back for a PET Scan on Thursday, which should give us more information. If the tumors are growing, he will have a change in treatment. If they are remaining stable, he will continue with the same treatment that he is getting.

We had a wonderful meeting with the social worker here. Thank God for good people. Everyone has been so kind today, from the nurses, to the massage therapist to Jud's lovely doctor, Melissa Sherman. We are so grateful to have this beautiful center, with its calm and quiet atmosphere (except for the fact that Jud's pump is malfunctioning and starts beeping every twenty minutes, but they are just getting him a new one!).

It is so good to have Jan and our niece, Dani, here. Katie did her Master's paper presentation yesterday and did a wonderful job. Life is up and down and in and out, but as a whole, life is good.

Please remember us in our thoughts and prayers in the next few days. Thank you so much for your constant caring and support.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Lovely Mom...

Anita Louise LaGrave Gillis

Only One Mother

by George Cooper

Hundreds of stars in the pretty sky,
Hundreds of shells on the shore together,
Hundreds of birds that go singing by,
Hundreds of lambs in the sunny weather.

Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,
But only one mother the wide world over.

I was determined not to include a "sappy poem" with my mother's picture but all of a sudden, I remembered a poem that my mother used to read to me when I was a child.  I found it...and I knew this was the poem I had to include. 

My mom died when I was eighteen. I loved her more than anyone (Jud and Katie, of course, are right up there with her). She was always physically weak, as the result of a rheumatic heart at aged twelve, and died at the age of forty-nine. She was one of the funniest people I have ever known, though she married a difficult man and things weren't always very "funny." 

She was a lousy housekeeper. Instead each morning, she went for "coffee" with a varied group of women. In reality, she was practicing her college degree of Social Work, counseling and supporting each one of them. From her I learned the deep importance of my women friends.

It didn't matter how much money you made or where you came from, my mother loved people for who they were. My father let her buy one nice dress a year which she invariably wore to church with a button hanging by a string or part of the hem falling down. She didn't care. Clothes didn't matter. People (and her relationship with God) did. 

She was a weeper. She cried at parades and when her favorite hymns were sung at church. She had her own rating system for how "wonderfully emotional" things were, as in, 
"That was a four kleenex wedding." 

People in my town always said that she had a different and individual relationship with each of her children, which was true. We were very different, yet she loved each of us as if we were the "only one."

When she died, I heard two friends of my parents discussing her. "Annie was a great gal," said one man. "No, she wasn't" said the other, "Anita was a wonderful woman."

She was a very wonderful woman. She lives on in all of us but I see her most in my daughter who "stole" this picture from me and put it by her bedside when she was about nine. "I need it." she said. "She's my guardian angel."

I love you, Mom. You are my angel, too. I am so grateful to have been born your daughter. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jud Has A Birthday...

All hail the Birthday King! (The cape was made by our talented friend, Barbara, charter member 
of the Committee of Mothers).

The Birthday King presides over the appetizers.

The Birthday King gets a big hug from his wife...

and his loving daughter.

The Gillises (the Queen's family) are represented by Floyd, from Kansas City.

Friends come from afar. Kathie from the Black Hills reconnects with Karen from Saint Paul.

A strawberry souffle cake feeds the masses...

...while our friends continue to do what they do best...talk.

As things wind down, Becky, of the Committee of Mothers, is there to lend a helping hand. Thanks to everyone who brought an appetizer to share. 

A good time was had by all. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Whimsical Wonderful

Ah, sweet, sweet Cindy of Cindy Adkin's Whimal Musings. Every time I am on her blog, she has something new she is giving away. I swear,  she lives only to give! At the beginning of Mardi Gras, I won this darling tag in a give-away on her blog. I love the black and white harlequin, partially because it reminds me of Cindy. In most of her art, she has some area of black and white. It really adds a lot to her designs. Cindy is also one of the most prolific artists I know.  I am amazed at how much she creates! She seems to have something new to show us every day and sits on two design teams. 

This gift came entirely out of the blue. Fava beans are thrown from some of the floats in the Irish/Italian  parade in New Orleans. The fava beans are also known as miracle beans. On St. Joseph's Day, altars, holding blessed fava beans,  are erected by Sicilian settlers in the Louisiana area.  The altars are created to honor St. Joseph, patron saint of Sicily, and mark a miracle which happened long ago. At that time, the Sicilians were starving when they were suddenly blessed with a huge crop of fava beans. 

Today the fava beans are blessed before being put into the floats. Some people believe that if you carry them in your purse, they will bring wealth. 

 I was so pleased when Cindy wrote to me, told me the story of the beans and offered me one. She said that she had long wanted to catch one and this year she was lucky enough to catch several. My bean is now residing in a little cloisonne box, on the altar area in front of my bed. 

Thank you so much, Cindy. You are a generous person and a lovely woman!