Happy Birthday Mom

August 22, 2009


I have spent this week thinking about how lucky I am to be your son. I will never forget how you waited for me every day on the love couch after elementary school to talk about my day. Or teaching me how to cook and the first time I made carnitas. I remember my dad’s face after taking the first bite and how you gave him the “keep on eating it” look. They were horrible.

Every day I think about you on my way home from work. I miss our daily phone call. After 30+ years you still wanted to know how my day went. Our calls were sometimes quick, but I think we just enjoyed hearing each other voices.

Today I will celebrate your life.

Today I will remember the wonderful memories we had together.

Today I wish I had one more opportunity to spend some time on the love couch with you to talk about our days and hear your voice.




Chole Poems

August 20, 2009

Hi Chole’s Quilt,  These are some poems that I wrote about Chole shortly after she died.  I first gave them to Howard Lee, and he has asked me to post them.  Love, Mary-Allen

Chole’s Hands

Chole died.

Chole’s beautiful hands

Are ash and bone.

Who saw her hands

Was struck

With their grace and beauty

Smooth, long, mocha fingers

Touching, gesturing

Teaching touch

For seventeen years


I see her in the houses

Small or great

The houses of suffering

Of fear and fatigue

And disappointment

Teaching mothers,

Grandmothers, sisters

Bringing the loving touch

Of life

To the damaged children

To the children without eyes

To the ones who couldn’t hear

Or maybe walk

Or who couldn’t talk

Or couldn’t grow

In body or mind


But they could feel

All of them could feel

Chole’s hands

Her warm, confident hands

Smoothing tense muscles

Finding the places

Where the lonely skin

Longed for touch

Longed for holding

Longed for joy

And surcease of pain


The Babies


I couldn’t see

And you touched me

On my temples


So I wouldn’t be afraid


I couldn’t hear

So you touched me on my hands


So I knew you were there


I couldn’t walk

So you lifted me up

In your hands


So I could see


I couldn’t move

So you touched me

With your smooth hands


So I could be free


I couldn’t talk

So you touched me

On my feet


So I could move


I was ugly

So you touched me

All over my body


So I could learn love


Your hands  are beautiful

Like the morning dove

Feathers, graceful and strong

And just fitting


Your hands see and hear

And move and touch

And love

So I can live


Your hands live on me

I carry your touch

I give your touch

Through my sight, my ears,

My feeling

Through whatever I have

I give it everywhere


And it spreads

Its vast wings

Over the earth

Touching everyone.


August 19, 2009

Walking through the local mall the other day, it was hard to justify the autumn colors and wooly sweaters in the storefronts when the temperature outside is still nearing triple digits.

But the balmy climate wasn’t the only contradiction. The passing of time becomes tangible when the seasons change, but most especially after a summer spent mainly thinking about the past.

As the days get shorter and the neighborhood kids start back to school, life seems to be moving forward in a trajectory that conflicts with this urgent need I’ve had lately to hold onto the past.  Right now, the loss still only feels like there’s something missing, rather than gone.

Mom’s birthday is this week, although her tradition was to dedicate the entire month of August to its celebration. Walking through the mall, it’s always hard to walk past her favorite stores without getting a little worked up, and this month those feelings hit a little harder.

The “time heals all wounds” cliché seems even less applicable than that “grief cycle” did for me. Time seems only to reveal new voids that were once filled by my mom.  I had readied myself for the loss of my mom – I hadn’t anticipated that I would be missing a friend at the same time. I wish I’d had the foresight to understand that.

Otters & the EPU Mural

August 6, 2009

Apparently there are some haters out there that have an ax to grind over Giant Peruvian Otters and their influence over the local species. Can’t we all just get along? Apparently not.

Well, here at Chole’s Quilt, we prefer to settle these issues with civility and a little class. Please cast your votes: 










Chole’s Quilt has been enjoying the lazy days of summer, though we are still very busy behind-the-scenes trying to figure out the details for the new Move Room at EPU.

Plans are beginning to come into focus now. While we are still awaiting final approval for many of these ideas, here is a preview of coming attractions:

  • One jungle-themed mural, based on an original painting by Mague. With giant Peruvian otters.
  • New window coverings
  • A new, wall-mounted plasma television
  • New flooring
  • Stencil drawings around the doors and other architectural elements
  • New play structures and furniture