Sunday, November 9, 2014

Life Assurance

Nope, not a typo...I meant to write Assurance, not insurance. There is a difference...

  1. a positive declaration intended to give confidence; a promise
  2. confidence or certainty in one's own abilities


  1. a practice or arrangement by which a company or government agency provides a guarantee of compensation for specified loss, damage, illness, or death in return for payment of a premium
  2. a thing providing protection against a possible eventuality
Years ago, my mother joked about her unfinished project. She said they were her life insurance policy-just too many unfinished projects to die. Sadly, life insurance does not prevent death-it just provides benefits to your survivors when you do, in fact, die...and, we ALL do. I am the grateful beneficiary of so many of her completed projects as well as a number of her "works in progress."

Now, my mother was not a wasteful woman. She was an extraordinarily creative, talented and totally engaged woman. She never suffered from boredom. There was always a project in the works. Over the years, she made and completed so many, many things: hooked rugs, crewel pieces, needlepoint, cross stitch, quilts, clothes...on and on and on. But there were was those unfinished projects, the ones she set aside when she wasn't sure where to go with them or the ones she lost interest in because something else caught her eye and attention. 

In her final days, our parish priests came to call. She talked to them about her death, sure that it was close at hand. I sat in the corner of the room, heart breaking, eyes streaming listening to my mother tell the priests that she hoped to make it through Christmas.  I heard her tell the priests she wasn't afraid to die. She had a near death experience when she was a child, and I knew the story well. Once again, she recounted the story-a garden, her grandmother, beautiful fragrances, and being told it wasn't time. She was only 4 at the time, and when she came out of her fever induced coma, she described this to my grandmother, her mother, in great detail. So, she wasn't afraid, but up until that point, she wasn't ready. Constant pain and diminished quality of life prepared her. 

In addition to her story, she told the priests she had "No regrets." She paused, and said, "Oh, wait. I have one. I regret not having finished that one crewel piece. I was afraid of the silk and then I misplaced the directions. I'm trying to decide if I should tell Ann to get someone to finish it or just frame it as is." This, my friends, was a life well lived-her only regret was an unfinished crewel sampler.

She died on Epiphany. I had the sampler framed-unfinished. If you look closely, you'll see that she started the man, but left the woman undone. Somehow, this seems fitting.

I am about the age my mother was when she first started joking about her life insurance policy. Well, I have a life ASSURANCE thing going on here. It seems I am the Queen of unfinished projects (though I have friends who claim the title as well!)  Clearly, I have too many interests! Because I am no longer employed, I do have time, but apparently I do not manage it as well as I could. Then, my husband does not hesitate to interrupt or change my plans, because, well, none of my projects are as "important" to our lifestyle as my work once was. And, the dealings-well, simply not as many and the consequences for missing many is nothing more than a shoulder shrug.

This last week, I started a simple baby quilt. It wasn't my first quilting project, but I am pretty much a novice. The fabric was here. The pattern was here. Even the batting was here. once I started , I realized I needed a solid length for the backing as well as a half yard for the binding. The fabric has been in my stash for so long, it is no longer manufactured! What to do...well, I had enough 10x10 pieces to piece the back! And, now, a reversible quilt! I have to admit, at times during production, I wanted to walk away, to color, to play with paper, to read, but I MADE myself continue.  The binding was an entirely different problem so off I went to the "local" (a 25 minute drive each way) fabric shop to find an acceptable fabric. Before I publish this post, I plan to put that binding on!!! 

I DID's finished! WHOO HOO!

It seems as I've gotten older, I have (to borrow a former colleagues expression
developed the attention span of a nat! 

I wonder, is this... 

  • from years of multi-tasking? 
  • because I am totally engrossed in technology where every piece of information comes in abbreviated bursts with bright lights and dazzling colors? 
  • a natural part of aging? 
  • because I am a closet anxiety-ridden, frantic person? 

My granddaughter is coming up on two and a half. In my pile of unfinished projects, now long since outgrown-a baby quilt, two smocked dresses, a little pair of overalls, a fleece jacket, a diaper bag...not to mention the projects that sit neatly folded and stacked, never even started.

I have reams of scrap booking pads and papers, half finished layouts, unfinished books... There are stacks of card fronts-yup, fronts, and piles of colored images with no place to go.

Now, I take comfort in the fact that I am not alone---the crafter's lament! I struggle with the guilt, the guilt of sheer waste, the guilt of money spent on materials that aren't used. My word for (Ali Edwards'-In A Word) was/is "ENOUGH"-fail! So, perhaps my word for 2015 should be FINISH or PERSEVERE, or maybe I try ENOUGH, again. 

Here's a thought---maybe, just maybe, all of these unfinished projects are "life assurance"---the promise of life, the idea that there is still time to finish them. Or maybe looking at them says to me,

" Yes, I CAN do all of these things. 
I've started them- I just need to finish them."

And, so this weekend, a little assurance-I did it! I finished a project or two. I can do it. I did do it. 

Art Impressions-Spring Chicken Set

AI Spring Chicken Set AI Clean and Simple.  While I do appreciate a fussy card, my style tends to be "Clean and Simple"...