Thursday, March 10, 2011

Funky and fabulous!!! (picture heavy post)

Wow, what a great mail day (both snailmail and email)! I got some lovely birthday cards today, a gift certificate for (you can bet I signed right up to be notified when the new copics appear again), and no bills. Woot woot! To top it off, I found a soaking wet box on my doorstep. Ok, I know that doesn't sound like a good thing, but trust me, it was a fabulous thing. Not the fact that the box was wet, but the contents of the box...oh, my!

About two months after Rick passed away, I was at this crop that a friend of mine had convinced me I should attend. I think she was trying to get me out of the house and also where she could keep an eye on me, because she was worried about me. So, I reluctantly agreed to go. I'm glad that I did. I met a sweet bunch of ladies who were so compassionate and understanding of my teary eyes and rather withdrawn behavior (can you imagine it...ME, not talking much?!?). One of the ladies had recently lost her father and she was talking about memorial bears. I had seen them before, but I guess grief had fogged my brain and I wasn't thinking of them. That's a bit shocking, since I collect bears and other animals. I have a huge collection of Steiff, Hermann, artist and other bears (not to mention the hedgehogs, tigers, cats, horses, dogs, birds, etc).

Once I got home, I went to my trusty pal Google and started checking out sites for memorial bears. I found Tammy Bears and I am so glad that I did. All of her bears are so unique, full of character, and made with such thought and care. Unfortunately, I just could not decide what articles of clothing I wanted to use for my own special Rick bear. It took me forever (over a year!), but I finally figured it out. You see, Rick used to wear this bomber jacket everywhere. As soon as it cooled down even a little, he was in that thing. He even had various wool scarves to wear with it. While I could not fathom cutting up his bomber jacket, I figured I could leave one scarf hanging with it, and send the rest off to Tammy, so that's just what I did.

I told Tammy that I love funky bears that are different than anything else. Then I told her what a prankster Rick was, and how he was always up to something mischievous. I even sent her a picture of him in the process of pulling a prank on one of his buddies in Iraq. I happened to send the bear request right at the height of her Christmas rush. Knowing that, I told her not to hurry and that if I had the bear by my birthday in March, I'd be happy. Tammy made it happen. He arrived today. He's fun, he's funky, he looks a little curious and a little serious, too. I think he's waiting til I fall asleep to start his next prank, but he sure looks like he's plotting it now.

Now, just look at him. Isn't he cute? He's got those ears off to the side that always make bears look so curious (at least, I think so), long, soft "fur", and even leather paw pads that remind me of Rick's bomber jacket.

The little heart on his chest is embroidered with a number that was one of our little private things we signed in our cards and notes to each other. His body is made from Rick's scarves.

As Rick would tell me, he was calling my name from inside that box. That's what he used to say when I would see a bear I wanted in the store. He'd tell me that bear was calling my name. This one definitely calls for me. In fact, I think he's screaming my name pretty loudly.

I hope you never have need of a memorial bear, but if you do, please visit Tammy. Read her inspirational story, check out her amazing work, and support a fabulous artist. And if you're not a bear person, she makes dogs, too. Some of the dogs she's made look so realistic that I figure they might even bark. Even if you don't want a memorial bear and you just want that special bear that's handmade just for you, you might want to give her a call.

My little Rick bear is going to hang out on the shelf in my living room, where he can be seen and admired, but not easily touched. He told me that he doesn't want to live behind glass, so he's hanging out next to some scrapbooks, loving life. He's got his friend the Steiff Sloth bear just a few steps away (although you can't see him in the pic below. He's a bit further down on the shelf).

This is one of his lighterweight bombers. This was the one he wore the most. He also owned one of the more traditional bombers, with the really thick shearling collar and lining. That thing would roast you out in 10 degree weather. Since Rick was always cold, I guess he liked that.

Now I've got a fabulous bear to make me smile every time I lay eyes on him, and to make me remember how Rick always pushed me to get any animal I wanted for my collection. Thanks, Tammy. You made my day. Heck, probably a lot longer than just a day!


Doreen Vasquez said...

Awww what a cute bear and such a cute way to hold on to your memories! :0)

Sara I. said...

Omg Gina! What a gorgeously written post - seriously that bear is too darn cute - I love his scarf! and I think that has got to be one of the sweetest things I've ever seen to memorialize a loved one. I am definately checking into this!!! Happy Almost Birthday - its the final countdown.

Starla B. said...

Gina, how lovely!! That is a wonderful way to keep the memory alive. Hugs!!!

Brenda said...

Gina, this is one of the most wonderful things i have ever seen. I am so glad you got it before your birthday! Last night Peighton was here when I was checking out the picture and I was explaining to her where Rick was and that you had this bear made with some of his clothes. I said you could hug it and think of him. She asked if he was going to sleep next to you in "his" place. She is a smart girl and i hope this bear brings you much comfort! LUG!!

Trina said...

Aww... Gina, I've got a little tear I'm holding back right now. :D How fabulous that your Rick bear came before your bday!