Thursday, March 29, 2007


1. Who gave you your name and why? Did you have a family nickname? How did you get it?

As far as I know my mom gave me my name. I never heard a story behind my naming however I think I was probably named after my mothers sisters Barbara and Mary(May). My mom was the youngest in her family and very close to her sisters. As a young child I remember spending a lot of time with each of my three Aunts. Later in life I took the name Katherine as my confirmation name in honor of my paternal Grandmother and my mothers other sister Kathleen.

At a very young age I was given the nickname 'Barby'. It was always spelled with a 'y' never an 'ie' like the doll. Throughout my life and into my adulthood my family referred to me by this nickname. As a young girl this was fine, but as a young woman...not so much. Throughout my life I have only met a few women named Barbara. The women I have met have almost always been of a different generation. I can only think of two girls from my childhood who shared my name.

Another nickname given to my by my Uncle Paul, my mother's brother, was not a nickname at all, rather it was my full given name. 'Barbara Mary' is how he has always addressed me in conversation or in writing. It is funny when I speak with or write to my Uncle Paul I think of myself as Barbara Mary.

As an adult I introduce myself as Barbara, although old friends often call be Barb.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Well yesterday turned out to be rather busy. I was hoping to have time to work on some art projects but unfortunately life interrupted those plans! In the morning I had to call Grammy's Elder Care company again. I spoke with the head nurse and told her about my concerns regarding the negative comments written in the communication log. I also shared with her the fact that Grammy is worried about her 'girl'. The cause of these worries boil down to personal information that has been shared with Grammy that never should have been shared. The head nurse was happy that I brought this to her attention and agreed that the log was not a place for the CNA to vent frustration and that certainly there is a fine line between building a relationship with a client and sharing too much information. She said she would go down and check on Grammy and 'J' personally and let me know if there were any additional problems. She also said that she would speak to the CNA. Hopefully the situation will be rectified. I spoke with Grammy later in the day and she did confirm that the nurse had been down for a visit. She seemed to be less upset about everything, so that was good. She was concentrating on some financial problems that I will be helping her to sort out. There is always something!

One of the journals I read has an interesting component that I would like to adapt for my journal. At Maya's Granny the author includes a piece called In a Nutshell. It is an autobiographical piece she intends to share with her family. It reminds me of a book I gave to my mother prior to her death. The book Reflections from a Mother's Heart poses questions that are intended to allow you to share your life story and legacy with your children. Unfortunately my mother never started the book before she passed away 6 years ago. So I thought I would like to reflect on the questions and share the answers as a part of this journal. My intent is to someday share this journal with my children.

So for now I will go and start my day. Off to drop 'N' off at his school and for 'n' and I to go to school ourselves. Hope everyone has a great day.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Another Postponed Visit

Well once again I have had to postpone our visit to Chatham due to illness. I am still suffering with laryngitis, sore throat and cough. I would feel terrible if Grammy or 'J' got sick. So I called this morning. Grammy told me I should go to bed and have 'R' take over for the day. I thought that sounded like a great idea, however unlikely. Grammy went on to tell me about how her CNA hates her. Again the drama continues. One of the requirements of the company that sends in the CNA s is that they keep a log regarding what goes on in the home each day. Well Grammy read the log after seeing her daughter-in-law reading it over the weekend. Evidently the CNA has written down some derogatory comments regarding Grammy and now Grammy is considering letting her go! I tried to reassure her that it was her helper's job to record how each day is going and that she is just concerned that there is too much stress in the home. It is interesting because this particular girl has only been in the home for three months. Evidently she thinks that Grammy and 'J's nitpicking and bickering is exacerbating 'J's outbursts. Little does she know that this is their life. Ever since I have known them they have bickered. Grammy tends to be the director and 'J' is the one who makes things happen. Is it annoying to be around and stressful at times? Absolutely, but it is what it is. I don't think that they will be changing at this point in their lives. It seems to me that this new person is not as experienced as she was made out to be and that causes concern. I hope that things will work out with this person but I want someone in the home who knows how to handle the outbursts and disagreements that come along with the dementia. I'll be contacting the company on Monday. We'll see what happens.

On a more positive note I did let Grammy know that we would be down for Easter. T and T from Maine will be coming too. I guess Grammy is planning on getting a ham and she wants T to make the mashed potatoes. He does make the best mashed potatoes ever so that will be fun. Maybe I'll make some fun dessert. I am planning on dyeing eggs before then. I'm looking forward to trying out my Ukrainian egg decorating kit. I read through the directions and it doesn't look too hard. It does look time consuming however. 'R' is at the store right now, hopefully he will find the white eggs I need to get this project started. I even have the tool I need to clean out the eggs. I'll post pictures if the results are ok. I'd love to give Grammy some beautifully decorated Ukrainian eggs for Easter. She has a fascination with Russia and I know she would enjoy such a gift. They would probably remind her of her travels in that part of the world.

Well it's time to get some more hot lemonade for my throat. Hopefully the hot lemonade and the vow of silence I have taken for the day will bring my voice back. You have no idea how hard it is for me not to talk!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

More silkfusion and more Grammy stories

So I was going to start with my Grammy story but I've decided to post a picture of my latest silkfusion sample so I will start there instead. This morning was spent with little 'n' relaxing and being creative. She worked on her picture and writing journal while I played with some natural soy silk roving fibers. The last few pieces I've worked on have been small in size but very enjoyable to work on. Today after saturating the piece with hot soapy water and removing the excess I painted on the fiber with liquid watercolor. I used a variety of blues and greens as well as a silver. I am delighted with the outcome. I like how the silver paint adds sparkles to the entire surface. I also like the movement in the fibers. I think this might be my favorite yet. I'm looking forward to trying out other paint colors on the natural fibers. I was concerned that the paint might stain my pressing sheet but it didn't, so that was a plus. I think I might have to buy more of the natural fibers.

On to my Grammy story. Yesterday there was a rather vague message from the elder care company that sends out the CNA to help with Grammy and 'J'. So with my very croaky voice(laryngitis) I called them first thing this morning to find out what is going on down in Chatham! So apparently Grammy has been antagonizing 'J' regularly causing him to become rather irate and agitated which then upsets Grammy as well as the CNA that is down there helping them. The crazy thing is that she is bringing up issues from the distant past that have already been resolved. Evidently the CNA was not sure if it is her place to step in some how to stop all the drama. I thought it was a no brainer that of coarse she should step in and say something. It is great that they call me to keep me informed so I gave them my 'permission' to say something to Grammy about her goading 'J'. They assured me that they will handle it in a gentle manner so that Grammy doesn't feel badly. They also asked if I would talk to her about how she talks to 'J'. That should be an interesting conversation.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

So I got one of those calls from Grammy yesterday. She had a difficult day with 'J' and she was all stressed out. He insisted he had to drive and then when Grammy and Sandy their caregiver reminded him that he was told by his doctor that he couldn't drive. Well that was 'it' according to Grammy. He became agitated and proceeded to call his doctor to find out why he couldn't drive anymore. The nurse at his doctor's office told him again that the doctor did not want him to drive for safety reasons. At that point 'J' told her that he was going to find a new doctor. It sounds like he wasn't very polite. Grammy was very embarrassed about how he spoke to the nurse. He ended up not driving but the whole ordeal was very draining for Grammy. Alzheimer's is such an awful disease. She is struggling with caring for 'J' and is so tired. She has even talked about having him go into a nursing home. What a horrible decision to have to make. Today must have been a better day because she called to ask us to come down for Easter. She's hoping to have us and my brother in law and his partner from Maine come down for dinner. I think family is a good distraction for her so we will probably make a trip down for Easter.

On another note I just received some art supplies over the last couple of days. I found the dick blick art supply web site. What a great find. I also have their catalogs. It's so much fun to check out new art ideas. Anyway I ordered little N an art kit that included a canvas, acrylic paints, brushes and a butterfly pattern to follow. It was only $5.00! little 'N' is so excited. I also ordered an egg dyeing kit from another catalog. It includes supplies to make Ukrainian Easter eggs. I am really excited to try it out . Other exciting news on the art front is that we are planning an actual art studio space for me in our finished basement. I can't wait to get started. I wonder what kinds of supplies I should stock? It will be fun planning and creating a space that I can use purely for myself.

Well its time to get the children ready for bed. Early to bed for me too as I am still battling a head cold and sore throat that just won't go away!

Monday, March 19, 2007


So yesterday we thought we would be going to visit Grammy and 'J' in Chatham, however I have been battling a sore throat with congestion and a cough. YUCK! So we decided to stay home and keep my germs away from Grammy and 'J'. In their 90's they don't need to have their health compromised. Spoke with Grammy and she seemed OK about us not visiting. She did talk a lot about being homesick for her family. She's only about an hour away but neither of them drive so they are pretty much housebound. Luckily we found a reputable elder care company and have a lovely woman going in four days a week to see to their needs. But it still is not the same as being with family. She would like to move off cape closer to us but there are issues with John's family regarding that decision. We'll see what happens. To make things more complicated for them John is suffering from dementia and Grammy shows the beginnings of the disease.

Instead of travelling we spent the day relaxing. Little 'N' and I had some time to experiment with more silkfusion. I wanted to try creating some smaller samples. I thought we could get an idea on how much product we would use for each piece in case we go forward with this project in Little 'N's class. So we started with a base of 6"x6". It seemed easier for Little 'N' to place the fibers. She really enjoys the process. So far she has made three samples. We're not sure how we will use the material in the end but we definitely want to either make gifts using the material or display it in our own home. Little 'N' took pictures today of the three pieces. The are quite lovely although the pictures are not the best. She is quite the little artist!
After I dropped Little 'N' off at school I went to work in Big 'N's 2nd grade class. His teacher is great. She really incorporates the arts: music, drama, and art into her teaching. She had me hanging up beautiful wax resist pictures of clowns with accompanying riddles in the hallway and in her classroom. It amazes me how much these children are learning and how early they are expected to know what I used to introduce in the third grade when I taught in public schools before I had my children. I wonder what 'No Child Left Behind' is doing to our children. Anyway it was a big day for Big 'N' today as he had a play date with a classmate. A new friend this year. I was nervous at first but found out a good friend of mine knows the family and the mom is really nice and it is a safe place for my guy. I drove the boys to Big 'N's friends home and they spent the afternoon including dinner together. It was so quiet with Big 'N' out of the house this afternoon. He didn't come home until almost 7pm! I like this child and his mom and it turns out he has a little sister Little 'N's age. Its nice to make new friends.
On a side note I was very excited to get my first comment the other day from Sue. Thanks for reading Sue and if you have any ideas for my silkfusion samples please let me know.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Fun With Friends

Well I didn't have a chance to actually work on any silkfusion today but I did take photos of the pieces I've worked on and will post them. Little 'N', Big 'N' and I had a busy day. We went to gymnastics and then spent the remainder of the afternoon with friends at a new indoor sports complex that has a huge indoor playground. It was our first time and we met friends who had been before. The kids had a blast. They ran and climbed and slid for three hours. The parents were able to catch up for most of that time. It was a lot of fun.

We visited Papa after we left our 'playdate'. He was happy to see us. We spent an hour sharing about our day. He likes listening to the stories his grandchildren share. He didn't have much to say except that his kitten slept in his arms last night. He really loves that cat! She is very pretty. I'll have to put her picture up to share with the world.

That was our day. Once we were home we all settled in for a family movie. It was good to be home.

I love Saturdays!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Back to Winter

Well it was a crazy weather day in New England today. They forcast a wintry mix for the day but I thought we would be getting rain. Turned out that I got a call mid morning cancelling pm Kindergarten. I called little 'N's school to let them know and they promptly announced that they would be closing at noon and that there would be no pm classes. It was nice to just hang out at home and not drive up to school today. The only problem came when the weather worsened and Big 'N's afterschool playdate was cancelled due to the road conditions. So from 3:30 until about 4:00 I had to listen to how disappointed he was, not to mention angry. It is hard to be disappointed when you are only 8. We finally moved on and ended up having another friend (with 4 wheel drive) come over and spend the evening. It is always fun to get together with good friends.

So I think I am going to put a link to my journal on the silkfusion discussion group. I'm hoping that knowing that people might actually read my journal will inspire me to post more often and add pictures of my slkfusion samples. The silkfusion has been a lot of fun so far. I shared the materials and final product with some friends at work and I think they are going to try to pick up some materials and exeperiment. I am thinking of working with little 'N's kindergarten group on a silk fusion class quilt. I'd like to figure out a way to attach the pieces so that both sides can be viewed. I think it would be beautiful hung in a window. I hope that it will work out.

Tomorrow I am going to spend some time taking photos of the pieces I have and maybe I'll get to have some time to create some more material. Can't wait being creative is so much fun and it makes me happy!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

New Inspiration

Well I’m averaging one post per month since I’ve started this journal. I guess that is better than nothing. I enjoy reading various online journals at night to relax but I just can’t seem to motivate myself to post an entry myself! I’ll keep trying.

Recently I’ve been inspired by some online artist I follow. I love being creative but often find I don’t have time to spend on any artistic endeavors. I did find a new artistic hobby called silkfusion. I am in love with the fiber and the process. It is very relaxing and the final product is absolutely gorgeous. I’ve made three samples and little N also made a sample. If you’re interested in learning more check out the joggles web site. I have also started ‘doodling’. Another idea I found online. It was so relaxing drawing lines and designs. Little N will probably color in the designs then I’ll post pictures.

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