Wednesday, February 25, 2009

John Wilker

*Dad, the summer of 2007, with his sister Dorothy.

The following is what my stepbrother wrote about my dad Just after his death. It's a beautiful tribute for the last 20 years of his life. Prior to that Dad was married to my Mom for 42 years. In this day and age, it's different to hear of someone married for 62 years!

We had a gathering at my sister's house on Sunday - which was really nice for the family as the actual memorial service will not be until mid-April. My cousins were there - you know the ones that you would like to get to know better, but your lives keep you apart. I guess that there are a bit of friction between my mother and my uncle - so we didn't visit but once a year (sad, too as they only live 90 miles away).

Peacefulness, The final moments, In memorium ... but finally just the tribute; "John Wilker"

As you may already know he died peacefully at 6:56 (CST) this morning (2/24). In retrospect his struggle was short, yet it seemed like forever. He lived a vigorous life traveling this hemisphere with my mother until 3 weeks ago. I do not know many 87 year old men that could drive that big RV and keep it constantly tinkered with and in shape. I saw a man that loved my mother, as she loved him. Being there to watch their love as he lay in an ICU hospital bed, semiconscious, struggling to breathe, unable to move or communicate was a very emotional experience for me....

However it became readily apparent that the stroke left him with no chance of recovery to the vital person he was. In fact it left him with being kept artificially alive via medications and artificial feeding to give him a chance at a recovery that was not to come. Consequently Mom and I came to respect his expressed desire to not merely be alive with no "quality" of life. His death less than 24 hours after withdrawing all medical support shows how poor that quality would have been.
Mom is at peace with the decision and process. Obviously she needs our support as she adjusts to her life without her loving husband and companion....

I celebrate the 20 years my mother had with your father following the loss of my father and your mother.

We ended up telling Dad and Patsy stories, laughing while sharing part of his life with each other. Now you have to remember that my step-mom is also my ex-husband's mother, which really puts a wrench in the works at times, but I believe that we have gotten over that (well, at least I have) portion of our lives...

Dad - I'll miss you - you are in my heart for eternity. I'm glad that we learned to say "I love you" and hugs from the O'Brien side of our clan.

Patsy, thank you for taking such good care of my father during his second childhood. You had a strong influence on Dad and I love you for watching him and taking care of him.

Monday, February 23, 2009


I finished my "Parisian Pendant" necklace yesterday evening, and wore it to work today.
It's so pretty.
Thank you Dallas - what a great design, instructions and patience in the classroom.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bead Daze 2009

Dallas Lovett helping students in his Etruscan Bracelet class.

I've spent the several days voluntering for the Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild at our annual Bead Daze - four daze of great instructors and classes! I have the opportunity to work with Dallas Lovett and take one of his classes. I haven't done much wire work, but the class that I took was stunning. I'll post a picture when I am done. Today was the last day of classes, and a day of about 4 inches of fresh snow for the instructors to play in....This is bead artists on Michigan coke - er snow.....

Jeanette Cook take aim.....

Kate McKinnon preparing to win the snowball fight....but notice Jeanette on the left packing a good one!

...And those of us from Michigan just do what we normally with it....

Thanks to the GLBG for a great session.

Thanks to the instructors:

Dallas Lovett, Barb Switzer, Jeanette Cook, Gail Crosman Moore, and Kate McKinnon

for a great four days!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Use the Muse - seite zwei....

I think that I followed the directions of the "Use The Muse" contest correctly. I am showing a little corner of my piece. Just a teaser......

p.s. Not looking good with my father, but time is the revealer of all secrets. All we can do is wait and see.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Use the Muse....

....Since Dad is holding his own and I have wrapped my head around that whole situation that I can't control (why, why can't I run the entire world the way that I want??), I thought that I would post about something else that I love - those little bits of glass with holes in the middle.

I joined the "Use the Muse" contest and just put the finishing touches on my piece. It really came together better than I thought it would. I actually enjoyed this because it really made me think about beads that I didn't choose and how I should put them together. I added some from my own stash and I learned a new stitch, so I am happy with the piece as it came together. It was worth joining even if I don't win, but with so many talented beaders out there - it will be thrilling to see what everyone comes up with. Now to take some decent pictures.

Dad is stable - he's receiving great care in Southern Texas, and thank you to everyone who left a comment or emailed me. I'm hanging in there, at peace with my decisions and able to talk semi-intelligently with anyone about this now. Whew!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Life in a nutshell right now.....

(deep breath)

For my friends who aren't on Facebook, here is the skinny. I received a phone call Sunday afternoon from my step-mom, Patsy. She and my dad are wintering in Mission, TX - which if you were any further south, you'd be in Mexico. She let me know that my dad was in the ICU at McAllen Medical Center - about 10 miles from where they are staying. He has:

1. coronary artery disease (not unexpected - he's 87 years young)

2. atrial fibrillation (Atrial fibrillation or AFIB describes an irregular and often rapid heart rhythm. The irregular rhythm, or arrhythmia, results from abnormal electrical impulses in the heart. The irregularity can be continuous, or it can come and go), and

3. aspiration pneumonia (Aspiration is defined as the inhalation of either oropharyngeal or gastric contents into the lower airways. Inhalation of these contents can lead to aspiration pneumonia aspiration pneumonitis. Although these two entities are managed differently, they are often interchangeably referred to as aspiration pneumonia.)

He's actually been in the hospital for the last week because of the atrial fibrillation - which means that if your heart is supposed to beat at 70 beats a minute, his is going at 130. The faster that your heart beats, the less effective it works. During the last week, he told Patsy (my step mom) that she wasn't to call us "kids" and bother us with this because he's had the AFIB for years. Dad would call me last year, and tell me that he took another ambulance ride over the weekend and by the time they got the 60 miles to the hospital, his heart was normal again. He treated that like no big deal.

But over the weekend, Dad became disoriented in the hospital, fell, broke his nose (which is how he got the aspiration pneumonia because blood went into his lungs), and the catheter was pulled from his body. From that episode, he's become worse. He is now in an ICU bed, sedated, and intubated.

We are at the wait and see point.

Patsy does not want me to come to Texas. Her exact words were "You'd fly to Texas to sit next to someone who doesn't know that you are there - that's stupid" We are in contact 4-5 times aday.

On the bizarre side, I put a note on Facebook on Sunday - "Do I know any physicians in McAllen, TX?" - I received a note from one of my ex-residents who told me that one of my other ex-residents is on staff there and gave me his cell phone number. When I got a call back, this doctor told me that he actually saw my dad the day before when he was consulted about the blood that he was spitting up (to make certain that there was no internal bleeding - there isn't). He's promised to call me everyday with updates.

So, that's what's going on right now - I know, way too much information.
As you all know, I am not the most hugely religious person in the world, so I am not going to ask for prayers - but I am not going to exclude them either. I want what's best for him (even if that's not the best for me).

Friday, February 06, 2009

Bead Cruising!!!

I just heard that we are officially registered for the Beady Friends bead cruise to Alaska!! I am so excited about this! There are still some openings if you are interested! Don't have a roommate? The travel representative, Shelley, can put you in touch with other beaders traveling on their own - great way to make friends and save money!

We leave Detroit on May 15, leave Seattle on May 16 and have many exciting days beading and traveling!!

It's not time to pack - but it's certainly time to dream!!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Bead Journal Project - February 2008

Doesn't she look like she is doing the happy dance!??

Round Robin Project

In March of 2008, the beading group that I belong to, the Loomatics started a Round Robin Project. My project was, of course, a Moose. I wrote in my journal that traveled with the moose, that I chose the moose because it would "Fit in so well with my decor and [allow me} to see how my friends would bead a moose for me." In the back of the journal, I wrote my infamous quote about bead embroidery:

"Bead Embroidery? Why on earth would anyone want to do bead embroidery? It's f*&^%$g silly, what's the point of it? It doesn't make any sense. I hate bead embroidery!"

Moose came home on Friday night. I still have a little work to complete on it which is not expected because we didn't believe that the pieces would be finished, but have a little bit of my beading friends in the moose.

Didn't my friends do a great job? There are so many parts that I love about it.