Monday, September 28, 2009

September = Back home again....

Hi Folks,
I've just returned from my summer long cruise-ship job. I didn't even take materials with me to work on the BJP, so I have 4 squares to finish in the next month or so. I do have ideas, so once I get started it should go fairly quickly. Well, I hope.....

It was a good summer, though very busy--126 days without a single day off. I'm bone-weary and ready to hibernate for the winter here in Alaska.

I'm attaching a photo of me taken this summer. I'm the Alaska rep for a new book by the B&B folks called 'Beads Across America.' Since my project for the book features a moose also, this photo seemed appropriate for my bio.

Also I've updated my web site for those folks seeking current info about the 2010 breast cancer quilt project:

Jeanette Shanigan

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Whew!!!! Well, maybe I'm not a foolish ol' woman afterall. Maybe I just appreciate true, real talent when I hear it. Read this:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Any fans of.....

Any fans of Adam Lambert here?? Normally, I'm not much of a fan of TV, but I've been sewing BC bead quilts in the evenings for months now, so it's become TV time. Anyway, at the beginning of the season, I stumbled across American Idol and started watching it, though I had a tough time getting through the horrific singers at the beginning. At first I was somewhat interested in Danny Gokey because we both lost our spouses the past year, BUT after a week or so I found his singing boring and predictable. But Adam Lambert!!! OMG, that guy just blows me away with his vocals and star quality. I suppose, as a bead artist I admire his creativity and originality as well. And he enjoys wearing jewelry--I appreciate that. :) In my youth I was a die-hard Led Zeppelin fan, so when he nailed 'Whole Lotta Love' that made me an avid, rabid fan.

Anyway, though I feel a foolish ol' woman, I will be spending a couple of hours on voting like crazy Tuesday night for Adam Lambert. Anybody want to join me? It's free to vote. ;)

The BC quilts will be in the mail this week and I board the cruise ship next Wednesday, May 20.

Jeanette Shanigan

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

April is done...

Hi Folks,

This month I try to deal with the anger surrounding my husband's and son's deaths. My square shows "accept" in the foreground and, indeed, this is the visage that I portray. But always, simmering and smoldering in the background is the "anger" monster--just waiting to rear its ugliness and helplessness. Truly, I know and accept what cannot be changed, but sometimes I just wish I could understand why.

My heartfelt thanks to all for the support and sympathetic comments as I work through my grief.

Jeanette Shanigan

Sunday, March 8, 2009


This month I celebrate one of the aspects of our life together that my husband Gordon and I really enjoyed: traveling. During our 35-year marriage, we travelled in the US, Canada, and Europe. We lived in Germany for a year while I was a Fulbright exchange teacher and travelled there at least 8 more times with my students as part of an exchange program. After I retired, we discovered 'cruising' and figured out how to cruise on a retirement budget. We both enjoyed seeing new places and meeting new people together.

My square this month illustrates our last international trip together, a trip to Ireland in August 2005. My husband hated to have his picture taken, so I suspect his gesture reflects a "you better not be taking my picture" attitude. We were waiting for our tour of Newgrange (pictured in the background), a monolithic tomb, a bit northwest of Dublin. I found the coin among his things. The "photo corners" are beads that I used in a necklace that I made for him after the trip. I miss my travel partner.

As a result of our travels I have many wonderful memories and recollections of grand adventures together. It's nearly 9 months since my husband's passing. At this stage in the grieving process, I find that all those experiences are just a thought away. They will always be in my mind to offer comfort, provide inspiration, make me laugh, or any number of other needs and emotions. For example, my husband loved eggs and ham, so he thoroughly enjoyed the Irish breakfast. But I could never get him to even taste the fried tomatoes that typically come with an Irish breakfast. Neither one of us could ever figure out how pork n' beans came to be on the Irish breakfast plate either. Just little, funny, quirky memories of a lifetime together....

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! Celebrate with a shot of Jameson's Irish Whiskey as Gordon did in the distillery in Dublin!

Jeanette Shanigan

Monday, February 16, 2009


Today would have been my son Donnavon's 33rd birthday, so my BJP square this month is all about him.

Donnavon's favorite color was purple, which always seemed a bit disconcerting to me, as he usually wore dark colors, jeans, carharts and so on. But I do remember that at his junior prom he rented and proudly wore a purple tux! His birthstone was the amethyst; maybe that had something to do with his favorite color choice. Scattered throughout the beadwork on this square are faceted amethyst rondelles.

Donnavon was an avid fisherman and he was very good at it, even as a young boy. I remember one camping trip to the Russian River on the Kenai. There were a dozen or so adult men on the river bank; no one was catching much of anything as we approached. Donnavon threw in his line and almost immediately pulled out a salmon. The men scowled and I'm sure thought 'beginner's luck.' In no time Donnavon had caught his limit; disgusted, the unsuccessful adult men wandered away, hoping for a change in luck upon return. So, Donnavon and his brother spent some time swimming in the river and harvesting hooks/lures that had been lost by other fisherman! The red hook on this square was hand-tied by Donnavon, a special rig that he swore by.

Today family, friends and relatives will celebrate his birthday with a get-together featuring favorite foods: lasagna, shoyu chicken, rainbow-chip birthday cake, and cookies 'n cream ice cream. Donnavon didn't care for vegetables, except fresh ones, so there will be a big green salad also. Donnavon would have loved it!

Jeanette Shanigan

Monday, January 19, 2009


This month in the grieving process, I take on regrets. Hopefully, voicing the regrets will allow me to let them go. At the time of my husband's and son's deaths, I was at least a 1,000 miles away. Yet, I suppose it's human nature to believe it was still possible to do something that would have changed the final outcome. Some of my many regrets include the following:

1. "If only I had accompanied my husband Gordon home for his routine medical procedure." But he had had the procedure a half a dozen times before and I had to stay behind to do the job on the cruise ship. We both loved that job and wanted to finish the season together upon his return after a week.

2. "I wish our farewell had been more than a quick peck as Gordon left the ship." I remember thinking as I watched him quickly leave with the ship's agent, "Wow, that wasn't much of a good-bye kiss; what if I never see him again? Oh, don't be silly, he'll be back in a week."

3. "If only I could have found the right words to console my son Donnavon as I talked with him on the phone about his father's death." I tried. So did at least a dozen others, but apparently none of us had the magic words that he needed to hear.

4. "I wish I could have gotten off the ship and home faster; maybe that would have made a difference with my son." The ship was in the middle of the ocean when I received word of my husband's death. I made plans with my son Donnavon for him to pick me up at the airport when I arrived home the next day. As I waited in the airport for the plane, I called Donnavon to tell him the exact time of my arrival, only to be told by an EMT that Donnavon was dead.

5. "I regret that Donnavon's two kids now must grow up without a father and a grandfather." They miss them so much, as we all do.

My square includes some stars to remind that I am not an omniscient being, only a mere human. My husband always accepted and said, "When my number is up, it's up." As the one still holding a number, I must accept that the trick to life is weathering the storms and learning to dance in the wind & rain.

Jeanette Shanigan