Aug 7, 2009


Three cheers for Jane from The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure! In her comment yesterday, she suggested that I try doing a tent stitch over every other thread for the background on Tall Poppies. Woo Hoo!Like a good little stitcher, I sat my heiney in the Happy Chair and just GOT TO IT. At first I wondered if I would be able to figure out how to do a tent stitch over every other thread (I know, I know), but once I got into the rhythm of it, things just moved right along! I got about 3/4 of the way to the top and then got a little bug-eyed, so I played with the black squares a little bit for a change of pace. If I stick with this one again today I could....wait for it....gasp with delight....jump up and down with glee.....FINISH THIS ONE!

I find it fascinating that I can go months and months without finishing anything, and then POOF! I get one thing done and get on a roll. I suppose that it's all part of my "all or none" personality, but it seems that if I'm not in a stitchy rut, then I'm flying through WIP's with the greatest of ease.

I had a friend named Dr. Dan who once told me that he had never met a person who had absolutely no grey area. It was either A or B with me...nothing in between. We had a good laugh over it that, and I asked him if I had to be a roller coaster, could I be one of the twisty/curvy ones that made people throw up?

My friend Dr. Dan and I first met on the school bus when we were in sixth grade. He was the tallest kid in the class and was the star basketball player. His family moved away to Mansfield, Ohio once we entered high school and I lost touch with him. After I had been at Notre Dame for a few weeks, a Lima friend of mine said "There's a really cool guy in my dorm that I want you to meet. His name is Danny Guagenti and he's originally from Lima." (Please note that my friend Dr. Dan's last name was not was Gaughan.) So in walks this little guy (about 5'3" tall) and he introduces himself with a little twinkle in his eyes. It took me about a half hour, but eventually I smacked myself on the forehead and said "OMG! You're not Danny Guagenti! You're Dan Gaughan! What the hell happened to you?! You used to be tall!"

Now you would think that this comment would have ended the friendship right there. But nope...without missing a beat, Dan looked me deeply in the eyes and said "Uh, Con? You all were four feet tall in sixth grade. Everybody looked tall to you."

So our friendship continued through the years and we followed each other from place to place. Dan graduated from Notre Dame and then attended Wright State Medical School on a U.S. Navy scholarship. Once he finished med school, he then served in the Navy as a Naval Flight Surgeon. (I like to tell everybody that Top Gun pilots all have their own physicians, and that those physicians have to be trained as Top Gun pilots that's what my friend Dr. Dan was, but I'm sure I screwed that all up and only remember it that way because Dan looked exactly like Tom Cruise in his flight suit.)

I moved to Atlantic City in May of 1993 and within three days of getting there, Dan called to tell me that his ship was going to be in New York for Fleet Week and that I had to come for a visit. (He was on the USS America). Did I mention that I was still traumatized by the drive from Indiana to New Jersey? Did I mention that I was afraid to leave my crappy little apartment for the first month that I lived there because New Jersey was the biggest and loudest place I had ever been?

God only knows how the hell I did it, but Memorial Day 1993 found me in my little Pontiac Sunbird on the Garden State Parkway headed to NEW YORK CITY. NEW YORK CITY. ON MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND. (Man, you talk about your country bumpkin...). Well, I made it and Dan and I spent the entire day hanging out. We toured his ship (which was bigger than Lima, Ohio by the way), we took a subway to SoHo, and we ate new York pizza. It was the first time that I EVER did anything that adventurous, and when I made it back home to tell people about it, they were amazed that ANYBODY could get me out of my apartment, let alone out of New Jersey.

Anywhoose...after finishing his time in the Navy, Dan started his residency in Toledo, Ohio and got married. Six months later, he suffered a massive heart attack while driving himself to the ER and died. He was thirty one years old.

There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of my friend Dr. Dan, and sometimes I wonder what the hell he would think about me writing this silly blog. He sent me an article once about writing children's books, but I never thought a thing of it. Now, I wonder if he was trying to tell me something that would have changed the course of my life.

Man o' manachevitz. I have NO IDEA where all of that came from! One minute I'm talking about putting tent stitches on a piece of needlepoint and then BAM! I'm reminiscing about a lost friend. STEWEY, GET THE MIDOL!

(I guess that A and B thing wasn't too far off after all.)

Happy Weekend, everybody!


  1. We all have extraordinary people that touch our lives, and Dr. Dan sounds like he was one of those for you! Perhaps the way he came to your thoughts and blog today is indicative of something. Like, why on earth wouldn't you think to write children's books now just because you didn't do it earlier? It's never too late!
    By the way, I love the latest stitchy pic.

  2. Fabulous background!

    Poor Dan. I wanted to hear what a wonderful life he was having.

  3. Wow, I almost thought this was going to end up like "When Harry met Sally".... I definitely think Dr. Dan saw your writing abilities! You have a way of drawing a person in with your story telling!

  4. Childrens books with Stewey as the main character, I can see them now. Although you may not be able to call him the Damn Dog. CJ ok;-)

  5. Dr. Dan...what a sweet story. (I kept picturing Lt. Dan from Forrest Gump...and I had the hots for Lt. Dan....)
    I bet Dr. Dan is looking down with laughter in his eyes at you Coni :)
    You've had a deep and varied life...and I love to read about it.

    On a side note...and this is really side....but I recently caught up with a friend, a very, very good friend I had all through college. He was a Biology major just like me and we met when we were freshmen. His last name began with G and mine began with E so when we registered for classes I was before him on my way out I'd hand him my schedule and give him the stink eye and tell him NOT to lose it and I'd be waiting out side underneath our tree (where we met for lunch every day). We took every Chemistry, Biology and Lab classes together for 4 years. He called me every day. Nothing romantic ever happened, I just liked him as a friend, but he was my dearest, bestest friend I ever had in my life. I thought he maybe had the "hots" for me...but he never made a move...and I always wondered. UNTIL last month we reconnected and he told me he had a partner...of the same sex! So see...I turn 'em gay! :) LOL! :) Doesn't matter though we started talking and it has been just like old times....he's still my best friend! Thank you for sharing your story about Dr. Dan....

  6. What a lovely story about Dr. Dan though I too was expecting a happy ever after ending.
    He was right - you (and Stewey of course) should be writing books ... but for us adults! :)

  7. I think Dr. Dan would be smiling as you tell us your story. You're fortunate to have had such a wonderful friend. That's why we have memories, so we can remember the special times in our lives. I think you should still consider writing a book. Maybe not children's books, but something that includes Stewey and yourself and Aunt Chrissy and her dog (forgot his name, sorry). Have you read Janet Evanovich? Your humor and her's are so much alike.

  8. You mean this isn't a book? Your blog stories are so entertaining. I usually don't read through everyone's blog, but your's is an exception.
    Dr. Dan was a good friend. It's nice to think about him. I had fun re-living it with you. Well, until the end part.

  9. Dr Dan sounds like he was a special friend indeed. Sharing his story has made him special to us as well. We all like your twist of phrase, and keep coming back to see what is happening in your world. Keep it up!

  10. What a great story about finding your lost friend! Just goes to show the old saying is there are no friends like old friends. So sorry to hear he passed too soon.

  11. Wow, I was almost hearing the Love Story Theme while I was reading this. Dan sounds like he was so special and it's too bad that he was taken away so young. But obviously he still lives in your heart.

    BTW, I think you would make a great writer. And almost forgot - love your needlepoint piece - that tent stitch is something I'm going to have to file away for the future.

  12. Heart attack at 31... that's tragic. I was wishing your story with Dr. Dan had a happier ending. I think you are a wonderful writer. I'm envious of your blog writing skills! I second CJ... Children's books with Stewey as the main character... I'd read them to Buddy Lee and my little one that's on the way :)

  13. The piece is coming along great. What great memories of an awesome friend and i think he was on to something with the children's books. It is never to late! "The Tails of Stewey"

  14. Thank you for such a lovely blog. I so enjoy reading it each day. It gives me a smile no matter--

  15. What a lovely tribute to a friend...and how he changed your life for the better (and you, his!).
    Thank you so much for sharing...both your lovely needlework and about Dr. Dan.

  16. What a Tribute! You both were blessed to be able to call one another "friend". I wish you would entertain his suggestion for children's books. I can almost see the illustrations now, bold and colorful, like so many of your canvas pieces like the birds, dogs, this one you are about to finish...What if you started a whole new genre, books for kids to read to their dogs (they have programs like this in local libraries to build reading confidence)? Well, I would buy them!