Tag: pets


It’s Sunday, 05 November 2017.
Nobody applauds when the announcer declares the 2017 International Quilt Festival over.

Queen Becky gives us a lesson in how to fold the quilts,
how to roll and twist the tissue paper,
and where to place it to prevent creases when the quilts are folded.
She is an excellent teacher from whom I learn an awful lot.

The quilts and all who had a hand in creating them are treated with respect.
A clean sheet is placed between the quilts and the floor,

and everyone who touches the quilts wears clean, white gloves.

Sean and David Rusidill (Caroline’s amazingly polite and fun to be with sons), Judy Jochen,
and Shannon Timberlake join in the take down and store effort.

The Engineer (Andy) takes quilts off the walls, and
Linda Moore and Peggy Thomas (sisters) fold and box quilts as they come down.

Caroline Rudisill checks quilts off the inventory list

as they go into the boxes.

It would not have happened with out Peggy Thomas

and Tari Vickery,
both seen here in The 70273 Project Interactive Booth
where people took home 1000 block kits,
left financial donations, and made Friendship Blocks.

Peggy Thomas and Tari Vickery (The 70273 Project Ambassadors)
– what would I . . . what would The 70273 Project . . . do without them?

Mary Green, Ambassador for The 70273 Project
(seen here in front of her beautiful Middling made with beads)
worked in the Interactive Booth, as did . . .

Cindy Cavallo, Ambassador

Caroline Rudisill, Ambassador

Frances Alford, Ambassador
and folks whose photos must be on somebody else’s phone:
Elaine Smith, Ambassador
Linda Moore, Ambassador
Judy Jochen, Ambassador,
Shannon Timberlake.

Thank you all for making the effort not just to get to the Festival,
but to share your time with The 70273 Project. I am grateful beyond description.

Thank you to Queen Becky, who hung The 70273 Project quilts
in the Special Exhibit, making us look so good . . .

to Rose (she teaches special education) who helped hang quilts in the Interactive Booth . . .

to Becky who, because of health issues, wasn’t able to be at the Festival,
but for months and months before the Festival,  donned her best patience and wit
to guide me through the process,
even taking the time to call me on the phone
with the good news that The 70273 Project had been selected
as a Special Exhibit when she could’ve just sent an email.

to Deann who was on-site, always calm and patient and thorough in her answers and instructions,

to Terri, whose laugh never faded throughout the entire five days

to the people back home who assembled The Go Block Bags
(all 1000 bags were taken!) . . .

 to all y’all who weren’t there in person,
but were most definitely there in spirit – sharing posts,
telling others, sending encouraging, appreciative message, emails, and comments –

and to The Engineer . . .  Andy
the man who has unwaveringly honored
our vision and vow of togetherness
for 44 years now . . .


It definitely takes a village, and we have a village made of the  kindest,
most compassionate, smiling, big-hearted people I ever dreamed existed.

All good things must come to an end, and the International Quilt Festival is no exception.
Looking at the photos of empty walls now, I see visual foreshadowing . . .

We get home and take our elder Corgi Phoebe up the mountain on Wednesday,
cooking all her favorite foods and putting them in front of her,
sitting on the floor with her, petting her, talking to her, loving her.
She wants to go outside every 2 minutes or so as though she can’t make up her mind.
She stands over her water bowl as though it’s familiar,
but she’s forgotten what she’s supposed to do with it.

A business trip on Thursday, and on Friday, it’s time to make The Hard Decision.

As we wait on Jeff (our vet, friend, and well, extended family member),
a man comes in and walks right over to Phoebe who would ordinarily
be glad to see him because she has always known that everybody wants to pet her.
This man does want to pet her,
but today Phoebe doesn’t even raise her head
or look up at him.

We are ushered not into the usual exam room,
but into a more spacious room with colorful padded chairs.
There’s even a doggie bed . . . pink.
I know why we are here
– shoot, I’m the one who called Jeff and told him why we wanted to come –
and yet I am unable to let go of the hope,
that Jeff will enter to announce that an IV of fluids
and maybe 2 weeks of antibiotics and our Phoebe will be good as new.

That’s not what happens.

I sit on the floor with Phoebe.
She stands near the door,
and I ask her to move
for fear someone will smack her hard
when they don’t see her standing there.

She makes laps around the room,
walking in circles that take her
in front of the examining table,
in front of Andy,
in front of me,
then back by the examining table.
Around and around and around she goes.

Jeff takes her out to put the catheter in,
and when he brings her back,
she’s content to lay on the bed she’s been avoiding.

We all sit on the floor now.
As Jeff administers the sedative/anti-anxiety drug,
I tell stories that start with “Remember when . . . “.

As Jeff administers the narcotic,
we each lay a hand on Phoebe
and send steady streams of love to her
through our touch.

The precious four-legged soul called Phoebe
who gifted us with her presence
breathes her last breath
to the sound of laughter and love.

From the high of the Special Exhibit at IQF
to the lows of witnessing the life of a member of our family come to a close,
life is a roller coaster, and we have been in the front seat.

Playing in the Meadow on the Other Side of the Rainbow Bridge


My boy, Kipp, rescued him from a Denver humane society.
It was between the border collie and a Corgi – he couldn’t decide.
Ultimately, Kipp chose well.


Otto was a slightly neurotic dog
afraid of the most, um, unusual things.


He was a mischievous dog,
though you usually only knew
he’d been mischievous
when he had this certain look about him.
Oh, he knew you were smart enough to figure it out eventually,
but he was always hopeful that once – just once –
he’d be wrong about you.

If you couldn’t find Otto,
you could bet your bottom dollar
that something resembling food
(cooked, raw, packaged, unpackaged – no matter)
had been left within, oh, 4′ from the edge of the kitchen counter.


Otto was a dog secure enough in his own manhood
to be prissy on occasion . . .
without apology.


We’re still not quite sure which one
Marnie fell in love with first:
Kipp or Otto,
but no matter.
They were a package deal
and she won both their hearts.


And though they were as nervous
as any first-time parents in the history of the galaxy ever were,
Otto proved to be a good Big Brother
to Calder Ray,
watching over him when others
went to sleep on the job.


Though they’ll surely adopt another furry baby
sometime down the road
when their hearts have had time to heal,
one thing is for sure:
the next Chambers canine will have awfully big paws to fill.


R.I.P. Otto.
You were the best Son Dog,
the best Big Brother Dog,
the best Granddog,
the best Great Granddog,
the best Nephew Dog,
the Best Friend

for the eve: a tale


friday night, mother decided she wanted to come home 4 days early. she said it was so i could spend time with my husband – and i’m sure that’s part of it – but i also think she was ready to come home.

there’s a whole lot more i want to say about that and about our time together, but i’m a little distracted cause, well, see, here’s the thing: after three years of tire-kicking, i officially signed up for nanowrimo this year.

which starts in less than 4 hours.

i’m actively researching a non-fiction book, but since that could wind up taking 3 years or more on the research alone, i decided nano would be a fine opportunity to bring that story idea out – the one that’s been lurking around in my imagination for 8 years or more – the fiction piece.

yes, 8-year-old fiction.

but with nano’s clock ticking loudly, i am visited by the ultimate writer’s block: i can’t even remember the idea.

i’m breathing deeply and revisiting the notes i’ve scribbled out over the years (i thought there was more!)

sometimes accomplishment moves me into a new place, so i made a to do list. i still need to:
clear my desk
file all those papers
decide on a writing sweater
flesh out a writing writual
decide which candle
make out menus for the next 4 weeks
and grocery lists
finish christmas shopping
pluck my eyebrows
clear out and reorganize the pantry
change the answering machine message to say “not now dearie”

well shoot, as you can see, i’m suffering from a bad case of writer’s procrastination and paralysis.

so to hell with the notes and to hell with the list. i’m off get my daughter to don her costume again and canvas the neighborhood. i’m telling her to go as far as necessary, to stay out as late as needed, that i don’t want to see her back here until she has a bag FULL of chocolate.

metaphor mewsing


every night between 10 and 11
a cat appears on our deck.
a totally, no-hair-excluded black cat.
a cat that is the same size
the same color
has the same eyes
as our indoor cat, godfree.

our indoor black cat
is not amused
and our dog snaps effortlessly
and loudly
into her role as protector.
(that’s how i know the outdoor cat has arrived.)

i take food out,
and each night the outdoor cat
gets a little teensy bit closer.

but the indoor cat
remains unamused
and vocal with his

they sit
with only a window between them,
one cat feasting
one cat fussing,
the outdoor cat fearful
the indoor cat fierceful,
and i know – i just know –
there’s a metaphor in progress.

communication gone to the dogs


i’ve spent a good deal of time with my dog lately, and i’ve noticed that we communicate differently . . .

me: i need to start walking.
phoebe: what’s wrong with right now?

me: time to cook supper.
phoebe: 4 of my favorite words.

me: i can’t explain it, but i kinda’ want to take apart an old piano to harvest the keyboard.
phoebe: count me in. that means we can spend more time in the shop.

me: time to pay the bills.
phoebe: sweet – that means time in the jeanneararium. hope the turkeys come by to say hey.

me: okay. time to change the beds.
phoebe: funny things come out of your mouth when you can’t get the bottom sheets stretched over the last corner.


me: how does my hair look?
phoebe: what hair? oh, i hadn’t noticed you had any.

me: i know it sounds crazy, but i’d sure love to crochet a little dress and attach these broken shards. . .
phoebe: cool. the cats are so cute when they play with string.

me: i’m tired.
phoebe: let’s nap.

me: do these pants make me look fat?
phoebe: what’s fat?

we go on a walk, and there’s nary a smell she doesn’t notice. she is totally there in the walk.


when her back itches, she rolls around on the grass or the carpet, she walks under your foot or the chair to scratch it – and she never once apologizes or whines or complains, she simply scratches her back. period.

i look out the window and see limbs that need to be picked up, leaves that need to be raked, mulch that needs to be topped off. phoebe looks out the window – the same one, mind you – and sees deer and turkeys and woodpeckers and squirrels and possums and raccoons and owls and cats and bats and sometimes even a wandering bovine.

i see squirrels on the birdfeeder and mutter “pesky, thieving squirrels.” phoebe sees squirrels feasting uninvited on the birdfeeder and chases them away then stands guard so the birds can eat.

notice anything?

phoebe never once says “yes, but” or “are you sure?” or “say what?”

she’s grounded in the present, content wherever she is, and lives in a state of constant readiness.

and she has a keen sense of right and wrong and doesn’t hesitate to address wrongdoing.

me: i miss blogging, but there are toilets to clean, weeds to pluck, houses to get on the market.
phoebe: sit. write. i’ll lay on your feet to keep you in the chair.


i think my dog is my best teacher.

happy times at happy time (best business 2009)


i was never going to be a poodle owner (i love you, mom, but). and i’m still not, even though i do sometimes act like one.

i don’t know when happy time boarding started, but i know when i the s-p-a as we call it, having to spell it when phoebe (our welsh corgi) is within hearing distance until i have the keys in my hand and my hand on the door.

phoebe and i love this s-p-a because everybody who works there is friendly and accommodating (in spite of the headache they must surely have working in the din of incessant barking) (and i haven’t seen the first one wearing earplugs – amazing) though they may not know my name, they all know phoebe and every single one of them sounds sincerely glad to see her when i drop her off. and when i pick her up, well you’ve never seen such a heavily decorated corgi (i can’t imagine what pam’s ribbon bill must run every month) and she smells so good it really gets in the way of her ability to effectively herd the deer, squirrels, possums, and wild turkeys that trespass on a daily basis.

(warning: here’s where i really sound like a poodle mama.) and the accommodations? well, i’ve been thinking about asking if i could board myself there for a while. maybe i could get some serious writing done while wiling the time away here:


or here:


or especially here:



they’d make me take a walk and a break when needed. i could romp in the festive outdoor courtyard to meet my quota of socializing, and when time to get beautiful, they’d escort me to the grooming side where i’d get comfortable in one of the themed apartments there (no crates. no, no, no.) and relax till time to get my hair and nails done.

i could nap at will and without guilt.


or i could do what phoebe does when she’s there – just sit and watch the world go by:


i could be onto something here. yes, yes i could.

the stories are mine, but credit for the kindling goes to gwen bell and her best of 2009 blog challenge. today’s prompt: the best startup business encountered in 2009?

Technorati Tags:
#best09, #bestof2009

the cat did it

last time it was that the dog ate my blogwork. today it’s that the cat has seen fit to take my stitching project hostage, so am off in search of more treats to see if we can’t work a deal. hopefully amicably (read: without resorting to claws).


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Allow me to introduce myself . . .

Hey, Sugar! I'm Jeanne Hewell-Chambers: writer ~ stitcher ~ storyteller ~ one-woman performer ~ creator & founder of The 70273 Project, and I'm mighty glad you're here. Make yourself at home, and if you have any questions, just holler.

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