Tag: andy (Page 1 of 2)

What Love Looks Like With 42 Years on the Odometer

ARCJHCLondon2014

Then
being heard meant being able to repeat back to me what I just said.
Now
being heard means that without prompting, you remember that I need to take photos of my Hymns of Cloth and you talk to the neighbor about using his barn, rig up a system, gather the tools, and make it happen.

Cruise2014a

Then
being seen meant you noticed the scar on my nose (a visible reminder of when I ran into the bridge) and thought it adorable.
Now
being seen means you secretly find the address for the fabric store in London and walk me there, bringing along a book so I can take all the time I like to delight in (and decide on) the gorgeous fabrics.

ARCJHCCruise2014b

Then
being held meant holding hands or resting your arm around the back of my chair or letting me snuggle up close when we watched scary or sad movies.
Now
being held means that when we get separated at parties, you keep an eye on me from afar, knowing how much this introvert you married longs to be in the corner watching the stories unfold.

ARCJHCCruise2014

Then
I felt butterflies when you walked into the room.
Now
I feel butterflies when we’re apart . . . when you’re working on the roof . . . when you don’t answer your phone.

LeavingIceland

Then
“till death do us part” meant nothing, not even a page on a calendar we would buy One Day.
Now
we know that “till death do us part” might mean tomorrow morning, this afternoon, or tonight
which
is precisely why we keep filling our togetherness with adventures, discoveries, and always, always, always . . . laughter.

Like Mama Helen said this past weekend: I sure knew which ones to kick to the curb and which one to keep. Forty-two years later, and you’re still The One, My Engineer. Oh my goodness gracious yes – you are most definitely still The One.

~~~~~~~

Starting tomorrow, I’m gonna’ pen 100 stories in 100 days (#100Days100Stories). Why? Because I’ve been longing for a challenge, that’s why. Join in or read along, I’ll be tickled to have your company either way.

A Cloth, A Lightbulb, A Birthday

IOOL4 4

In Our Own Language 4:4

She (Nancy, my developmentally disabled sister-in-love draws.
I (Jeanne, the woman who flat-out loves her) stitch.

A lightbulb moment as I was having imaginary conversations with real friends: I’ve fallen into the ghetto side of self talk. You should hear what rattles around inside my brain any given day.

“I can’t get anything done for the all the interruptions.”
“I can’t do anything when I travel except what other people want to do.”
“I’m gonna’ die without having finished anything.”

And so on.
And so on.
And so on.

Now you and I both know that what we say on the inside is the navigator for where we go and how we live, so I’ve made a few changes. Starting now, whenever I hear the ever-familiar (and comfortable?) ghetto talk, I’m stopping right then and there and changing it to things like: “Wow – look at all I’ve accomplished despite the interruptions and OPA’s (other people’s agendas).”

Okay, so I still have some tweaking to do, but I’m headed in the right direction, getting back on track.

Today is The Engineer’s birthday, and here are reasons #7340-7344 that I adore him:

7340: He is patient.
7341: He is kind.
7342: Not once in the 42 years of our togetherness has he ever responded to something I want by saying “that’s ridiculous.”
7343: He’s funny. Or can be.
7344: I’ve never had to hide a price tag.

Yes, you’re right: it’s his birthday, and I’m the one receiving the gift.

ARCHoldingJHCBdayCakeFeb1973 copy 2
The Engineer holding my birthday cake. I’d known him less than 2 weeks at this point, and I told him I wanted a picture of my birthday cake. What I really wanted, though, (and I’m pretty sure this will not come as a shock to him) was a picture of his handsome countenance cause I knew – I just knew – from that first meeting, he was The One. Isn’t he absolutely adorable? I mean, really, how could anybody resist him?

ARCInDublin

The Engineer last fall in Dublin.
He’s a little taller than me, something that always surprises me.
Happy birthday, you.

Coloring My World (Outside the Lines) With Brilliant and Vibrant Goodness for Forty-one Years (And Counting)

ARCHoldingJHCBdayCakeFeb1973

(Andy, less than a month after we met. I asked him to hold my birthday cake so I could take a picture of it.)
(Honestly, it’s a wonder the cake even made it in the photo
cause all I really wanted was a picture of HIM.
I’d known him 18 days at this point in time,
and already I knew I loved him with my whole heart.)
(And then some.)

AKAndyJuly1980Beach090

(Alison, Andy, and Kipp)

AKAndySlidingRockNC310a

(Kipp, Andy, and Alison at Sliding Rock in NC.)
(He told them about sliding down the wet boulders, but he kinda’ “forgot” to mention how cold the water is in the pool at the bottom.)

Dear Andy,
For the way you . . .

  • continue to hold my hand after 42 years
  • drive me to workshops
  • never fuss (at least not on the outside) about how much something costs if it makes me smile
  • laugh at things I say
  • sing along with me (this is not a metaphor)
  • walk closest to the street on sidewalks
  • open doors for me as an act of consideration and respect, not from a place of condescension
  • find us the most remarkable places to live
  • continue to rouse and rally the butterflies in my stomach with your kiss
  • see my strengths and abilities when I can’t or don’t
  • sharing my love of quirky and odd. (It makes life so much easier.)
  • encourage and support me towards self-determined life (even though so many times it would undoubtedly be easier not to)
  • love Nancy so openly and tenderly and share her with me so willingly
  • never had a business meeting more important than your child’s soccer game
  • never once were too tired to attend a performance
  • gave piggyback rides till they were tired instead of till you were tired
  • worked two and sometimes three jobs so I could stay home as a full-time mother and find outlets for the kids to explore their varied interests and become their best, most creative selves
  • drove home from the office, picked us up, then drove us back to wherever the kids needed to go just so we could have extra together time in the car
  • use your creativity so brilliantly and profitably, always crafting situations where everybody is satisfied
  • continue to show our children what a real, honorable, good man looks like, sounds like, acts like – not just occasionally or when things are going swell, but every minute of every day through every smile and tear . . .

Thank you.

I couldn’t’ve found a better husband
or a better dad for our children
if I’d had a million years to look.

Happy Father’s Day.

AlKippAndy0879118b

(Kipp, Andy, Alison)

AndyNancyChristmas1999

(Nancy and Andy, 1999)

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(Andy, Alison, and Kipp)

ARCGrandCanyon1992

(Andy at the Grand Canyon.)
(Let it not escape your notice that I stopped him before he backed out over the edge.)

The Engineer & The Artist Do Art Camp: Day Three

Communion12

Communion 12

I’ve long ached for an epiphany – for things to come whooshing in, connecting, clarifying, lining up. I’ve witnessed it happening to other women, and I’ve held the space for women so it could happen for them, but I’ve never had The Big Epiphany myself . . . until 4:50 this morning when I woke up with a start and clarity like I didn’t know was possible. I saw cloths, I transcribed my artist statement, I knew what I do and do not want to do. I couldn’t turn the light on, though, cause Andy was sleeping, so I just sent myself an email and when I copied it into my journal later this morning, it filled almost 20 pages. Astonishing in every way.

Communion10

Communion 10

(Communion is the series where I stitch what conversations with Nancy look like.)

I designed eleven cloths today, basting each one of them so that they’re ready to stitch. Yes, that’s right: eleven.

Communion14

Andy threw some more pots, but honestly, I’ve lost count. Late in the afternoon, I did accept an invitation to join the potters who convened on a nearby bar for drinks, and what a fun bunch they are! After supper, it was back to the studio for me. I could stay here forever.

Communion11

The Engineer and The Artist Do Art Camp: Day Two

“breakfast starts at 7:30,” he says in a bit of a startle when the alarm clock goes off at 7:10 this morning.

“so?” i say, rolling over for (at least) a 10-minute snooze.

“so we need to get moving,” he says in a tone that’s rather annoyingly urgent.

we have breakfast, and as i look forward to heading directly to the studio to start working on something – anything – he reminds me that class doesn’t start till 9, even though the studios open at 8. his engineer is showing.

when we meet for lunch, he’s thrown another 6 pots:

Arcpots2 1

AND he tells me that he’s gotten over his bout with perfectionism. i clap a little bit, delighted to know that he’s embraced the wonkiness factor:

Arcpots2 3

by the time we met for supper, he’d glazed all his pots and finished a face jug:

Arcfacejug2

[ :: ]

meanwhile, my day started out with a trip to the local cemetery where we did a few tombstone rubbings before the downpour turned us back an hour or so ahead of schedule. this is the one i rubbed:

Graveyard2

back in the studio, i set to work dressing up my key a wee little bit:

Key2

and laying out and basting Rinse Cycle 5:

Rinsecycle5f

Rinsecycle5e

as well as Rinse Cycle 6:

Rinsecycle6a

i can’t begin to describe how relaxing it is to spend so much time in the studio. (even if i haven’t yet completely tucked in and shed the outside world.) oh, if my life could be like this.

there is stitching in my immediate future. and a lot of it.

[ :: ]

today’s bonus:
as we left the fiber studio when andy came to pick me up for lunch, i said i wanted to start putting in at least 37.5 hours on writing and stitching each week to which he said “and you need to get your studio so that it’s conducive to creating space wise.” oh man am i ever glad he came now cause after being in this fabulous fiber studio a few times, he sees how important it is to have a space that loves it when you’re creating. even if he hasn’t thought about the fact that i’ll need his help to make changes.

The Engineer and the Artist Do Art Camp, Day One

Arcpots1 5

honestly, i wasn’t sure how much i’d like being at art camp with my husband. turns out i like being here together. i like it a lot. not only do i have somebody to sit with me at all meals plus a roommate i don’t have to worry about short-sheeting my bed or hanging my underwear on the flagpole or anything such as that, it’s great, big, huge, heartwarming fun to see his work, to see him create. he’s taking a pottery class called Turners & Burners: Folk Pottery of Southern Appalachia, and man is he productive. in the first 3 hours of class on day one, he threw 4 pots and a pitcher.

Arcpitcher1 2

“some aren’t smooth and round,” he says in a (surprisingly) apologetic tone.

“they’re wonky, andy” i tell him. “they’re the ones you would buy or at least gravitate to if somebody else made them.”

“i know,” he laughs.

[ :: ]

while andy was throwing pots, i was in a fiber class. not so much productivity for me on day one, but i did make this key:

Key1

and meet susan lenz (the instructor) in person – finally – and see some of her beautiful work up close:

Susanlenz1

Susanlenz2

and also meet rena wood, the textile artist-in-residence:

Renawood10

Renawood5

“i think of it like doodling with thread,” she says of this puddling effect:

Renawood6

this piece was done on a vintage tablecloth given to her by a woman who works here. rena dyed it black and started stitching:

Renawood14

Renawood13

Renawood27

Renawood28

and this piece was inspired by the loss of memory she saw in her grandfather. he was losing his memory as she was building hers:

Renawood19

[ :: ]

afterwards, there was a bonfire (complete with wine) then more walking hand-in-hand with andy as we strolled through the town.

you know, when i went to camp with my lifelong best friend, dianna, a few decades ago, my mother didn’t send me the first note or letter, even though i left a stack of self-addressed/stamped envelopes ready and waiting. as we settled into orientation, i get a text message from this same mother, asking me the name of the song that played when the ballerina jewelry box was opened. my goodness how things do change.

but hey, they don’t make me drink milk at this camp, so there.

The Engineer and The Artist: Trees

“We need to take some trees down before they fall on the house,” he says.
As he points to this:

Trees4

and this:

Trees5

and this:

Trees6

I see this:

Trees2

and this:

Trees1c

and this:

Trees1d

And yet again, we look at the same thing
differently.

[ :: ]

Jeanne Hewell-Chambers (who some declare got thunked up side the head one too many times as a child)
is still getting used to her husband (the retired engineer)
being home 24/7.

Sands Through the OURglass

Out1

Forty years ago, I publicly promised to spend the rest of my life with this one man named Andy – a man I’d known a scant six months at the time. I’m still married to him though we don’t look the same and neither does our marriage . . .

Then we vowed to stay with each other in sickness and in health with only some romanticized notion of what that meant based on movies we’d seen and books we’d read. Now after his stent a few years ago and my recent bout with staph infection, we have a clearer idea of what that means, the patience it requires, the commitment is demands.

Then we spent a lot of energy finding ways to be together. Now that we’re together 24/7, we find ways to build some space in our togetherness – even if it’s only agreeing to work on our separate projects for three hours then meet in the kitchen at noon for lunch.

Then we looked forward to the weekends for the romps and recess they offered. Now that the structure provided by careers and children is gone, we create our own weekends by doing something outside the normal routine, even if it’s simply dropping the dog off at the spa then taking ourselves on a walk through the local village green to look at the new art sculptures on display or taking a leisurely trip to the local museum.

Then we were high on the thrill of discovering everything we could about each other. Now we deliberately find ways to lay out the welcome mat for surprise in general, even if it’s something as simple attending an art lecture on the Spiritual Language of Paintings and practicing our new vocabulary and pondering our new perspectives over pizza afterwards.

Then we held hands everywhere we went.
We still do.

Then we laughed as often as possible.
We still do.

Then we made it a point to argue and disagree in ways that don’t require follow-up apologies.
We still do.

Then we knew we’d spend the rest of our life together.
We still do, though we now know that forever isn’t infinite, and that makes all the difference in the world.

JeanneAndy07319173framed

a wish, a big, fat, juicy wish

Treetreasure2

once upon a decade
i wanted him to leap onto his white steed
grab his longest sharpest sword
and gallop off
to lop off the
ugly heads of the man who raped me
and the man who abused me.

in another decade,
i wanted him to say something
anything,
though it had to be anger.
he had to show me
with his words and his tone
and his venom
that he understood
as best he could,
that he hurt for me,
with me.

and now
after 40 years of togetherness
i am content
to have him quietly by my side
saying “you better get started”
to every idea that comes through
my bones.
to have him gently kiss me every night
EVERY night, i tell you.
to have him say the words “i love you”
in more ways than i can count.

it’s not our anniversary.
i usually only write about him on the day we met
or the day we married.
then again
maybe it is an anniversary of sorts.
an anniversary of recognizing
of setting aside
without ever forgetting, mind you.
of publicly declaring
that this man called andy
is number one
and takes up more space in my life than the other despicable men
will claim ever again.

[ ::: ]

i can’t wish it all away for jane doe
it happened
period.
i can’t wish her to set it aside,
this will be with her every hour of every day
of her life.
the best i can do is wish her a husband who may
never be able to talk with her about it
because he can’t fathom how men could
commit these vile acts;
a husband who may squirm when she writes or talks about this,
something she simply must do every now ‘n then;
a husband who might cringe when she yells at the tv
because he can’t go to the store
and buy something to fix,
to repair
what happened to her.

i can
and do
however
wish for her a husband
who,
even after 40 years of togetherness,
takes the dog for a walk and
returns bearing
a lacy leaf
or a heart-shaped rock
or a piece of wood
he thought she would like.

14,600 Days or 350,400 Hours or The Blink of an Eye – It’s All the Same to Me

JeanneAndyFormal1974

Forty years ago today, I walked into a bar in Underground Atlanta with a girlfriend and walked out several hours later with the man who would, in a mere six months, become my husband. Our forty years of togetherness have been marked by much change. We’ve birthed two amazing people, and we’ve buried too many to count. We’ve laughed and cried . . . and eventually laughed again. We’ve pursued our own interests and always come back home to tell each other all about it. We’ve shared interests, cheered each other on in individual pursuits, and worked side-by-side on all sorts of things.

An engineer by training, he views, interprets, and goes through the world in a more linear way than this quirky Aquarian. He is patient, I lean towards impulsive. He is literal, I see and hear metaphors everywhere. He is formulaic, I live like like a pot of soup, pulling sparklies in from every whichaway. He is quite thorough, I want immediate results and have a tendency to get bored and move on. We are good for each other.

It’s not always been easy, but it’s always been the two of us together, and that sure helps. I am not the same woman I was forty years ago, and he is not the same man who mixed me that Tom Collins. But laughter, space in our togetherness, listening, and holding hands continue to define our way of loving each other.

As he says, I’m the best he could do with the car he was driving at the time. And as I say, he’s the best I could do with the boobs I had at the time. Here’s to at least another forty, Andy.

Clink.

Cheers.

JeanneAndy1980sRes

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