Musings and Amusings

All’s Well That Ends Well

imageMeet Quinn (mannequin), Raqi’s new BFF – at least until next-door buddy Em gets home from visiting her grandparents on the other side of the Continental Divide.

Despite my reservations, our sewing sessions went remarkably smoothly without me cracking open the gin bottle. My wingman, Hub, came through like a champ using his superior eyesight and abstract thinking to figure out the bobbin-loading diagrams, maneuver his fingers in the very tiny space to thread the machine needle, and leaving both of us looking like savvy sewers in Raqi’s eyes.

image

Coincidentally, I found this paragraph in a book shortly after our sewing project was completed:

Until fairly recently, needle skills were considered an important part of a girl’s education. Girls learned a variety of stitches and embellishments that they would need later as the seamstresses of their families.”

Map Art Lab by Jill K. Berry & Linden McNeilly

No wonder our Mothers and Home Ec teachers put so much pressure on us to become qualified seamstresses. It was considered a life skill for females. And no wonder it created lingering anxiety for those of us who couldn’t measure up!

Thankfully, I had no expectations of Raqi’s mastery nor did she. She didn’t even want to open a pattern; she simply wanted to maneuver pieces of fabric around the mannequin in a semblance of a top and skirt; click the machine dial to sew a variety of fancy stitches for about 15 minutes; glue on some Velcro fasteners and call it a fashion success. One she can’t wait to show Em.

On that high note, I reflect on other unanticipated, pleasurable surprises of 2014:

Number 1 on that list – YOU. A year of you, me and us – gleaning words of wisdom, snippets of inspiration, and validation of our shared humanity through your writings, photos and illustrations. Chuckling, commiserating, comforting each other along the way.

Blogging relationships are every bit as complex, delicate and rewarding as in-person interactions. They are at once uniquely public and intensely personal.

When I assess my 2014, I find it has been one of my happiest, most contented years, and I attribute much of that positive feeling to how my daily world has changed because of blogging. My own writing gives me challenging satisfaction, but it is the warmth and sense of belonging with all of you that is the greater reward.

Other small joys of 2014…

527Golfing with Dad. Only in Michigan would a round of golf with cart cost $20, and include a historic-brick-home clubhouse, a red barn cart storage, a course cultivated from cow pastures and hayfields, and baby turtles newly hatched in the sand trap marching their way to the nearby pond.

 

Every Praise sung by Hezekiah Walker. Of the multitude of crap that flows through my Facebook page, this one stuck. I want to sing it, dance it, pray for some progress in healing our racial divides.

My traditionally favorite Christmas movie – Love Actually. Many of my alltime Brit favorites – Hugh Grant, Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, Emma Thompson – just pure ‘love, actually’ with a whole bunch of laughs and dance wiggles thrown in.

Two other excellent movies: Chef and 100-Foot Journey

imageBooks I read and 5-starred – a sampling; by no means a complete list:

Waging Heavy Peace by Neil Young
Loved It!! It reads like a stream-of-consciousness blog taking me back through several iterations of Neil’s musical career and my own life chapters influenced by his music. At the same time, it’s very much a ‘future vision’ outlook on environmental and music projects Neil is determined to bring to fruition.

Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian
Chris is one of my top five all-time novelists (with his Idyll Banter essay book an equally compelling read). I am constantly amazed to scan his list of works and note the variety of locales, topics and characters he imagines into being.

Set in Tuscany during and a decade after WWII, this novel is a lush family saga with historic significance and intrigue, complete with Chris’s uncanny ability to fully develop his female characters. Having toured Tuscany with a guide who was steeped in WWII history of that region, I felt I was transported right back to those verdant hills and ancient villas.

Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander, M.D.
I am loved and cherished. I have nothing to fear.
I don’t know about ‘proof’, but I liked finding a book that mirrors my long-held beliefs.

My Promised Land by Ari Shavit
Flummoxed as ever by centuries of unresolved Middle East conflicts, I chose this one based on several reviews by noted Middle East experts. I started reading this a couple days ago.

How to Climb the Eiffel Tower by Elizabeth Hein
I met Elizabeth, who blogs at http://www.elizabethhein.com during the 2014 A to Z Challenge, and her novel was published this year. Click the link to read a synopsis of the book. Based on the quality and organizational skills Elizabeth exhibits on her blog, I expected a well-written novel, and it is. Elizabeth maintains a good pace; has created realistic, complex characters, and she excels at writing dialogue. I especially enjoyed her rounding out Lara’s character by including substantial work-related scenes and relationships, which added context to the other parts of Lara’s life.

Well there you have it – 2014 in a nutshell. Throw in a slew of good bike rides, a few rounds of decent golf and repeated handfuls of chocolate – even using New Math, that adds up to a well-rounded, highly satisfying year.

I’d be remiss not to mention how much I love my constant companion and dearest friend, Hub. He makes every day special just because he’s part of it.

imageSee y’all in 2015 !

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Comments on: "All’s Well That Ends Well" (64)

  1. Always so nice to read your blog posts. This one especially, all of your adventures, accomplishments, and wishes! Here’s to a very Happy New Year for you and yours!

  2. I’m so glad to hear the sewing lessons (and the mannequin) worked out so well! Ravi looks very pleased with her gift. Thanks for the book reviews, I may check one or two out! Best wishes for a fabulous 2015!

  3. What a lovely round-up to finish the year on – I have fully enjoyed your musings since meeting you through the A-Z challenge. I think you are the only one who I have kept up with from that, there must be something in that! Are you doing it again? HNY Sammy and family, have a great one with lots of fun and joy and good health all around 🙂
    Jude xx

    • Wow, Jude, I’m honored and glad we stayed in touch. Some of my favorite A to Zers have disappeared from their blogs and I miss them dearly.

      Glad you are here. I haven’t decided about that April Challenge … Yet …

  4. Sammy,

    I am thrilled to finally meet you here! Thank you for passing along the book recommendations and the “Every Praise” video–I had the later blasting in my nook a few minutes ago. And all my gratitude for your kindness.

    May 2015 be sweet and generous to you and us all.

    With heart,
    Dani

    • I feel the same way, Dani. Your presence through your writing and voice is so compelling; I wish you healing and purpose in the New Year. I hope you know how much you have given by sharing yourself with us. Blessings always. Sammy

      • Sometimes healing comes through us and sometimes it comes through others. This year, much of my healing has come through others. Thank you, Sammy, for being one of them.

        ❤ Dani

  5. I am very happy that we found ach other’s blogs Sammy. I enjoy this blog and your fresh, honest writing (even the Boomer Fashionista series). I’ll be here in 2015, looking forward to the stories you have to share. Happy New Year.

  6. I think that Raqi must be of superior intelligence to just get in and do “stuff” and not bother with a pattern. (I hope so; it is what I do.) Glad no need for the gin!
    I’ve also been musing about this year and what a gift cyberspace sent to me.
    Three blogs I never miss, and all are women I met on the internet. What a kick, all different, and I look for them daily when my coffee is on its way.
    A man who was an architect and brilliant sketcher and I also met, and he introduced me to a small group limited to 50 around the world — after I begged — and that group has changed my life. He died in August, and his wife who is young hasn’t other women who are widows to talk to (she is in her 40’s) and so, I am in the most intimate conversations with someone I will never meet. This thang I sometimes rail against is also a powerful connecting tool.
    That and watercolors are what 2014 was all about for me. ❤

  7. Amazing who you meet just hanging around. That picture of you at the dinner table…and that empty chair directly across from you…..for me, right? Like I said….amazing.

  8. I bought my mother “The 100-Foot Journey” for Christmas. She’s staying with me right now, so we’ll watch it together. And I love Chris Bohjalian. “Midwives” is one of my favorite books. I haven’t read “Light in the Ruins” thought. In fact, it’s been a while since I read one of his novels. I better change that tout de suite. 🙂

  9. I really love the golfing with dad. I’ve putted a few times with my dad, and now he’s so sick and won’t be able to putt for at least 3 months, according to the doctor. So that part was particularly meaningful for me. It looks like a really good book list, too!!! xo

    • Oh, and I forgot to say that sewing was important to my grandmother and I did sew some when younger, but it was almost out of my life altogether when my daughter asked to learn 10 years ago. I took her to classes at Joann’s, which was fun!

    • Luanne – I’m sorry to hear your Father is ailing. I do hope recovery is not too far away. We have to appreciate every moment and conversation with them.

  10. Thanks for this lovely post and photos … and I agree, even though we may never meet some of our blogging friends, this doesn’t make them any less special. They’re very special indeed!

    All good wishes to you Sammy D for 2015, and to your family –

    • Thank you so much, Susan. I’m delighted we touch across the continents and you share your lovely country with us.

      Best wishes for good cheer in the New Year 💖

  11. This is a great synopsis of your year. Isn’t it wonderful to look back on a year and sigh with contentment? 🙂

    • Thank you, Joanne. Yes, I agree. I much prefer ruminating on what went well and the people I enjoyed to criticizing myself for unfulfilled intentions. I learn from those, too, but I don’t dwell on them.

      I’m very glad we ‘jogged’ across each other’s paths 😏

      • Me too … on both counts!! 🙂

        I feel so much richer today in terms of experiences and friendships than I did last year at this time. I’m so grateful to have met you and so many other wonderful bloggers friends. Looking forward to 2015!!

      • Yes, you’ve described it perfectly! We are truly richer!

  12. “Blogging relationships are every bit as complex, delicate and rewarding as in-person interactions. They are at once uniquely public and intensely personal.”

    Those words, right there, those words are exactly what it’s like. I so admire your ability to express yourself so eloquently, engagingly, and with such warmth and welcome. You are one of my blogging bright spots of 2014, no question.

    Here’s a title that you might want to add to the pile – All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews. I read it just after the events of August 11. It was particularly poignant given the current events of that day.

    All the best in 2015, Sammy.

    • Maggie, thank you so much. I wanted to include a paragraph titled ‘Maggie’ in my 2014 synopsis because of all the happy/sad/supportive ways I’ve come to know and depend on you this year. But my explanation would have felt too public for what we’ve shared. Just know whatever I have given you has come back tenfold.

      I look forward to reading your recommendation. I’ve discovered I can add and add to my reading list with no sense of alarm at its climbing numbers because – hey! – I’ve got a whole new year to read ☺️
      Love you and sending warm hugs to you and Reiner.

  13. Quinn looks like she could use a quart of Haagen-Das to put on a few pounds. 🙂

    It’s wonderful that you are trying to keep the skill of sewing alive. We are losing too many traditions.

    • HaHa I fear Raqi and I would eat most of it and Quinn would stay her scrawny self! (You know how those models are).

      Most alarming is losing our ability (or willingness) to think/evaluate for ourselves. Technology is fascinating but do we really need a sound system that picks songs for us as we enter the room?!? sensors that tell us what mood we’re in?!? Yikes!!

  14. cardamone5 said:

    Love this, Sammy. So personal, so you. Love your original gift to Raqi, along with photos. So sweet. I’ll have to read some of these books after I slog my way through my own Christmas book gifts. Also, lovely tribute to your husband. Wishing you a lovely 2015.

    Love,
    Elizabeth

    • Thank you, dear Elizabeth! I have been thinking about you and hoping this past week has been one of good family time and not too much stress.

      I look forward to hearing some ‘thumbs up/down” on books as you make your way through your pile😊. I struggle to write decent reviews – it’s obviously a niche writing craft that’s harder than it looks.

  15. Fabulous post, I loved reading this round up. So pleased the sewing went well and the Neil Young book is now on my wish list! Happy new year, Sammy and I wish great things and plenty of love and laughter for 2015! x

    • Thank you, dearest Lainey. I have come to think of you and me as characters in a Little Women type book where we leave handwritten notes for each other in the nooks of trees 💖

      I hope you enjoy Neil as much as I did. I was royally pissed when he left his wife soon after the book was released because they had such a long history of working through many adversities. And he’s hanging out with Daryl Hannah for crying out loud. But I can’t control Neil’s indecipherable choices, I just have to get past that and back to appreciating all he’s meant to me through the years.

      • Daryl bloody Hannah?! That is so sad.

        I love the thought of messages in trees! WordPress is like our little tree. It’s almost magic – we write words and instantly they have travelled around the world, ready for us to find 😉

        I’m making mulled wine for this evening and I’ll raise my glass to our little tree x

      • Oh I love that! I’ll raise my glass as well 😘

  16. Loved this post, Sammy. Raqi is one lucky little girl, and so cute. Thank you for sharing your year with us, and for being a great blogging friend. Here’s to an even better 2015 in whatever we choose to do. Cheers!

  17. Sammy,
    Stopped by to check out your post. 🙂
    What a special time for you and Raqi. Excellent approach of ‘no expectations’ except to have fun and create. (I think removing pressure makes it easier to return to a venture with curiosity and interest.) Love your look back at 2014 and the highlights. I thought your book descriptions were honest and compelling… just as they should be;) Light in the Ruins sounds like a winner to me.
    I hope the last bit of 2014 is just as wonderful! Happy New Year!

    • Thank you, Elsie! This has been one of my special years to reflect, not least because of all of you. I am so happy when I see your posts come through my Reader because I know there’s a good book I’ll hear about or some words of wisdom from your treasure chest 💥💥

      Happy New Year to your family, too!

  18. will give some of those books a whirl!

  19. What an endearing photo of Raqi and your OH. I love a happy ending, Sammy! Much joy wished for you in 2015. 🙂

  20. So glad the sewing machine adventures ended happily! I’ve been out of the blog loop lately, but I had to check your site to see if there was an update on Sewing with Sammy.

    I am impressed by the time you put into reviewing your year and into connecting with your readers! I’m hoping to see Hundred-Foot Journey in the near future; I got a stack of books for Christmas (and my birthday, which is right after Christmas), but it sounds like you read some good ones in 2014.

    • Hi Sandi – Happy New Year! Thanks for stopping by to see how Sewing Sammy survived 😊 i struggle to write my own posts, but enjoying my fellow bloggers posts and commenting back and forth is a piece of (delicious) cake!

  21. I remember Home Ec class. We had both cooking and sewing. I’m not that much of a seamstress, but I’m glad I learned how to sew. Thanks for the Every Praise video. I enjoyed it. Here’s to more blogging in 2015! Happy New Year!

    • Happy New Year to you!! This will be a hugely challenging and, I hope, rewarding year for you with your book moving ever closer to being published. Very exciting ( and probably stressful, too – good stress is still stress). Do take care of yourself!

      • Thanks! Stress tends to be a problem for me, so I’m trying to keep it down, though honestly not succeeding very well. Over the last few years with all the hormonal shifts, I’ve become more anxiety-prone, which is not helpful at all. I’m working on it. Many, many deep breaths.

      • Oh Lori – those hormones do wreak havoc; I’m sorry you are in the thick of it. I resorted to a few medications, but even finding the right combo takes time and energy. Just be gentle with yourself when you can!

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