Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Last Night of the Last Day of 2008

I had planned to write all kinds of things today. I wanted to wax poetic and be philosophical about the year that is ending, but when you get right down to it, I've said all that needs to be said in past posts about this year. I've talked about problems and things I'm thankful for. So, maybe I'll just say a few quick things about yesterday.



I cleaned off a place on my table to put a sewing machine yesteday. My Singer feather weight is in need of repair, so I got out my old Viking. The light was burned out and the closest place to buy one is an hour away. So, I put it away and got out the Singer 301. I haven't used it in about 10 years. In fact I tried to sell it and couldn't at a fairly recent Trash to Treasures sale that the Quilter's Guild of Dallas held. Boy am I ever glad that it didn't sell! It took me a while to clean up, but she's running like a top. I'm piecing some triangle blocks for a swap and enjoying every moment of it. As soon as I finish these, I'll continue to work on a baby memory quilt that's long over due.

I took a picture tonight of the last sunset. I plan to add it to this post tomorrow. One of my goals for the coming year is to learn how to upload my pictures on this computer all by myself.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pictures

I hate to post a new post without pictures. So, if I do, I'm always looking for some picture to go back and add to it. Just something to remember in case you want to see pictures. I've posted a lot lately without them and plan to remedy that as soon as possible. I even plan to add more pictures of my Christmas tree before I take the tree down. I always leave it up until after my birthday, so I have time to take more.

Monday, December 29, 2008

My Hubby



For those of you who have never met him, this is my sweet husband, Richard. I finally got a picture of him that I liked when we were at his sister's house this last Saturday. I wanted to post it in celebration of his survival of his infection and surgery in November. Now with the Lord's help and any luck at all, we'll survive the bills that come with it. Have I mentioned lately that I'm looking forward to 2009?

Oh Christmas Tree

I wasn't sure I'd get a Christmas tree up this year, but I did and it was before Christmas. I'm just a little late writing about it. It makes me somewhat sad to see how little our trees are now compared to the "old days" of my youth or our young married days. It's bad enough that we no longer get live trees and resort to artificial. To me, that was a huge sacrifice, but it was mostly because of me that the sacrifice had to be made. I developed allergies after we moved out to the country. I actually probably always had them, but they really started to bother me when we moved here.


Our first artificial tree was about 6 and a half or 7 feet tall. I had trouble getting it into the basket at the store to buy it. I had trouble getting it out of the car when I got it home and it was always trouble to store and transport to the spot it would be set up. It was heavy, bulky and a pain in the butt. It was stored out in the trailer that my dad lived in for the last year or so of his life. The trailer was only on our property for a few months before he passed. After he died, I turned the trailer into a quilting studio. That came to an end when fire ants got into the air conditioning and killed it. The next winter, we couldn't get the heat to come on either. I pretty much abandoned the trailer at that point. We continued to store things out in the trailer. Then we found mice living out there. That's when I abandoned the big Christmas tree. I wasn't about to lug that thing into the wheel barrow and then to the house to find it full of mice, nests and feces.



Last year we had a very tiny live tree. I'm talking about 2 feet tall. We got it about a week before Christmas and got it out of the house right after the holiday. This year, I went to the dreaded Wal-mart (NOT my favorite place, but I end up having to shop there or go to Dallas) and found a little 4 foot, artificial tree, with lights for all of $25! Since Richard had not been paid at that time, I was thrilled. I put it up on the bar (another reason for the tree downsizing is that we have too much furniture now for one on the floor!) and decorated it to within and inch of it's little life!



You may not know this about me, but I've collected Christmas ornaments for the whole of my marriage. I have a lot of Christmas ornaments! There have been times when I've had them hanging from the curtain rods and the burlap curtain tie backs (yes, I have burlap curtains in my living room). I've hung them from the shelf in the living room on the stocking hangers that we no longer use for stockings. I put a miniature tree in my bathroom, loaded with miniature ornaments. I put ornaments that can stand or sit flat on shelves, the microwave, any place I can think of. I put ornaments on wreaths. If the wreath is outside and a bird happens to make a nest in it, I leave it up for a year or more. I get ornaments wherever I travel and at Christmas time each year. I give them as gifts and I keep them for myself. They make me happy.




My favorites are porcelain birds, Santa's, angels, Hallmark ornaments and lately Radko ornaments. For many years, I collected Precious Moment ornaments also. I love handmade ornaments and ornaments made of tin. I'm especially fond of anything that looks old fashioned.



My little 4 foot tree is covered this year with the ornaments that I dearly love. The ones I've mentioned above and the ones that remind me of loved ones. They have been made by friends or family, given to me by friends or family or in some other way remind me of them. They are ones that I will never part with.



That being said, I'm considering parting with many of my ornaments. I live in a small house. We moved here with more than we could fit into it. We got rid of lots of things and have accumulated even more over the almost 20 years we've lived here. Besides that, my love for ornaments has not diminished. I still find new ones each year that I want to buy and I have no where to put them or hang them. Of the 6 or 8 boxes of ornaments I have, I could only get about 1 and a half on the tree this year. My husband has his own collection too. His are all Star Trek related and all from Hallmark. Most, if not all, make some kind of noise or light up. None of them are on the tree this year, but today, I went and bought him his own tree. Next year, he'll have it full of his ornaments! And after the Christmas of 2009 I'll go back to Wal-mart to see if they have any of the same trees on sale. If they do and I have the money, I'll get at least one, maybe two more of the trees. One will go in the bathroom to replace the miniature that I've finally agreed to give to my son. I actually bought it for him many years ago and then wouldn't let him have it. The other may go up in our bedroom on my cutting table. I've always wanted several trees in the house. I just didn't realize they'd all be little 4 foot trees!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Woo Hoo!

Hurray! My hubby finally got paid yesterday! He hadn't been paid since the Friday before his emergency surgery. That was November 7th for the last payday. Talk about being stretched thin. I'm not the best manager of money. I try, but something always comes up before we have a good handle on saving and we end up charging -- often, quite a lot. That was sure the case over the last month and a half. We lived on credit cards.

It felt good to pay bills yesterday. It felt good to be able to pay on late bills. It felt good to pay the majority of the late bills even if I couldn't get them paid in full, knowing that with the next payday, I'll more than likely be able to pay them in full. If not all of them, then at least some of them. Times are tough all over. I'm extremely grateful that Richard has a job. In fact he went back to work on limited duty last Monday. So, despite credit score worries, I'm a happy camper.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Absolutely Delightful

A friend (who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent) told me of her plans next Saturday with another friend. They plan to get together to make cookies. They're going to eat them while they're hot and look at all of their diet books together! They plan to map out their strategy for after New Year's when they start to concentrate on getting healthy. I thought this was delightful! I laughed out loud! I suggested that they throw away all the diet books after that meeting. My friend said she may donate them. After all, we pretty much know what we need to do to loose weight and get healthy. Eat correctly and move more.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Frosty the Snowman

I just watched Frosty the Snowman. The thing about the Frosty the Snowman show that I've told very few people is that I used to cry every time Frosty melted in the greenhouse. I don't remember the last time I watched the show before this year. I'm pretty sure I didn't cry the last time and I didn't this year, but I did feel a little tingle behind my eyes. I do have a cold or bronchitis or whatever -- probably the only reason I got that little tingle. Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. I love the song, Frosty the Snowman sung by Jimmy Durante. Brings back all those warm, fuzzy feelings.

I was talking to a friend recently about watching The Wizard of Oz and all of the Peanuts holiday specials when we were kids. It was a big deal to us back then. They were only on once a year. There was no such thing as DVDs or recording it for later. It was - watch it then or wait until next year. The Peanuts specials even had the same commercials every year, Dolly Maddison snack cakes. When they stopped being the sponsors, that was the beginning of the end. Soon, they were developing new specials with different kids as the voices. I never did like the new ones.

The same friend called me last night and one of the first things she said to me was "you get sick every Christmas!". I don't think that's right. I did literally get sick every year, for years, during Christmas vacation when I was a kid, just as soon as that last bell rang to let us out school.

One of my best Christmas memories is of my dad's side of the family all being at our house for Christmas Day. I think I was about six or seven and I was sick. I wasn't allowed to be in the room with everyone, but one by one, they all come to visit with me for a few minutes. While I was alone, I lay still in my bed and listened to all of the conversations and laughter. I know I must have felt a bit sorry for myself, but what I remember now is the love. I also remember getting my first bicycle that year from Santa! Since I was sick, I couldn't go outside and ride it. That was tough.

The house we lived in had three bedrooms. The way the kitchen, one of the bedrooms, the dining room and the living room were situated, if you had the doors to each open, you could walk a circle in the house. My dad, took pity on me and let me ride that new bicycle through the house a very few times that Christmas day. This was totally out of character for my dad. One of the reasons it's such a fond memory. My dad wasn't always the best dad on earth, not by a long shot. But he always said "I love you" and meant it and he occasionally tried to show his love in little odd ways like letting his sick kiddo ride a bike in the house. He also just plain did the best he could with what he had. Just as we all do.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Reading

I am reading, when I can concentrate. When I can't I'm working sudoku puzzles. The easy ones. Of course since I do those, when I can't concentrate, I can't always solve them. Quite sad. Anyway, I wanted to post the books I'm reading. I absolutely love Christmas books and it's extremely difficult for me to pass them by in a book store without buying several. Thankfully, I haven't been to a book store often lately.

I'm reading:
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas Cheer - Stories about the Love, Inspiration, and Joy of Christmas by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen edited by Amy Newmark

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron, with Bret Witter

The Purpose of Christmas by Rick Warren

Yes, I'm reading all three of them at the same time. I just swap them off. Read whichever one strikes my fancy at the moment. Since I'm feeling poorly, I'm reading the Chicken Soup book heavily now. I'd barely touched it until recently.

Waiting in the wings, for me to finish the three listed above, are all seven paper back books in the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris. The first one is Dead Until Dark. I know the eighth is out in hard back now, but I'm sure that I can wait for it to come out in paper back at this point.

The one I'm going to have trouble waiting on is the new "between the numbers" Stephanie Plum book -- Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich. It's due out on January sixth! I'm a BIG Stephanie Plum fan!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What's been going on?

Well, I haven't posted in what feels like forever. My hubby is healing. For that, I am grateful, even though it feels like a very slow process. I do know that the wound vac that is inside his incision cuts down on the healing time by 1/3 the time. For that, I am extremely grateful. As it is, we're spitting at each other like a couple of cats tied in a sack and I've come down sick.

The majority of this year has been rough. It pretty much started in the spring when I was called for jury duty on a capital murder case. I made it through the jury selection and on to the jury. It was a long process, that I really wanted no part of. The trial was heart wrenching. I was never so glad for anything to be over in my life. It changed me in ways I can't describe.

Then my hubby went into the hospital in late summer. A very dear friend died a couple of months later. My dear cat friend died. My hubby went back into the hospital with something that could have killed him and he's still recovering from. His short term disability is slow to start, so our finances are fouled up at a time of year when we want to spend extra and we can actually spend very little. In addition to us, people we love, have had hard times too. That's difficult because there's really nothing we can do to help them. It's just been rough all the way around. We know these hard times come and go. We know we'll get through this. That memories of Marianne and Barney will ease the pain of their passing. We know that money isn't everything and that we've made it through bad finances in the past. We will this time too. When you get right down to it, we know that we have everything we truly need. For surviving it all in the past and knowing we will again, I am very grateful.

That being said, I am looking forward to 2009! I'm looking forward to seeing my grandchildren again. I'm looking forward to being well and getting myself in order, my house in order and getting to sew again! I want to make some artistic quilts and I want to make some old looking quilts. I want to hand quilt like I used to. I want to continue to explore the quilting I had started to explore that was inspired by Jude.

For now, I want to rest. The cold or bug or whatever it is, is getting to me again. I also want to look at a favorite picture of my granddaughter CV (she was 18 months old at the time) when she first met her new born sister CL. Her mother had been telling her for months that she was going to have a baby. CV was very excited. The problem was that none of us thought of the confusion -- that her mother also called all of CV's stuffed animals CV's babies. From the look she was giving her sister, she was definitely expecting something stuffed that would not take any of her mom's time away from her! She was one unhappy child when she first looked at that baby who was her sister! It didn't take them long to become closer than I could have ever imagined! Of course, CL was none too pleased when she met her brother a little over a year later either.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I try to be ever mindful of all I have to be thankful for, but this year, I don't even have to try. I am so very thankful to have my husband still among the living. I truly could have lost him to the infection he had surgery for on the ninth of this month. The doctors told me they were really surprised at how well he was doing, considering how sick he was when he came in. Now, he's home and noticeably healing.

I'm thankful for my son, daughter-in-law, grandchildren, mother, sister and her family, my sister-in-law Charmaine and her husband Dale and their family. I'm thankful for my dear Aunts Joan and Brenda, all of my other aunts, my uncles and cousins, sister's-in-law and brother's-in-law, nieces and nephews. I'm thankful for my Quiltingfriends, my Going to Pieces friends and my Jane Does friends. I'm thankful for my best friends Catherine and Beth.

I'm thankful to all the emotional support they've all given me and continue to give me during this time in our lives. My cousin Trina was a literal answer to a pray the night of the surgery. I'm thankful for that and for her support and knowledge.

I've been blessed in many ways in my life and in this year. For the sake of time and space I've only mentioned my husband's health and the people in my life today, but I am thankful for so much more!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Over the Rainbow Bridge

Barney did not get better with medical intervention. I think his kidneys had totally shut down. He was so bloated when I went in to be with him. He looked much worse and was kitty cat whimpering. That's the closest I can describe it. It was a meowing type sound, but it was definitely a whimper. I spent time with him and then I held him as he was euthanized. I missed him on Sunday when I first left him at the vet's office. In fact, I woke up three times that night thinking I'd heard him meow. I miss him now and I'll miss him for a very long time.

It was hard on me. It always is when this horrible situation comes up. It's the price we pay for loving animals. I know people who choose never to invite another pet into their lives after suffering it once or twice. I think that the love they give us is worth the pain of loosing them. The poem Over the Rainbow Bridge is a comfort to me when I have to go through this. http://www.rainbowbridgepetmemorials.com/ I will also, eventually, get a memorial stone for each pet.


Goodbye Barney.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Barney Cat

Well crap. Another male member of the family is in the hospital. Barney stopped eating a few days ago. It actually may have been a week or more. With Richard being in the hospital and how crazy our routine has been, I'm not entirely sure. I did notice that Barney started to turn up his nose at our water when it started to smell a while back. He would drink the water downstairs, so I wasn't too worried, at least not until Friday when I realized he had stopped eating. Then I realized that he hadn't been sleeping with me the whole time Richard had been in the hospital. He was also acting odd in other ways. He would start to meow very loudly in the wee hours of the morning. Something he'd never done before. He was also wobbly and his little feet pads felt cold. He was getting weak. I called the vet's office on Sunday and took him in.

We found out years ago that Barney has severe kidney problems. We've known that we had to be on the lookout for him to be up chucking. Once is OK. Treat him for it. Twice, take him to the vet. It could be serious. He hadn't been up chucking that I know of. Well, when the vet ran the blood work on Sunday, we discovered that Barney is severely dehydrated and his kidneys aren't working properly at all. We don't know which came first and triggered the other. There's no way to tell for sure really.

Barney is in the "hospital" getting fluids. If the fluids help and he starts to eat and the kidneys start to work more efficiently, he may survive. The vet called to update me this morning. There has been very little improvement. He's a little perkier, but he's still not eating. He told me that he is not as optimistic as he was yesterday. We're keeping him there one more night, but the vet said that if there is not a significant improvement overnight, he doesn't think there will be. One way or another, I'll be going to the vet's office tomorrow. I'll either be picking up my sweet boy, or euthanizing him. I knew he wouldn't have a long life when I learned of his kidney problems and quite frankly, he's lived longer than I thought we'd be blessed with him, but I sure hate the thought of losing him. I love his company, his power boat purr, his beautiful spirit, and his long white whiskers.

I sure hope I get to bring him home.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Successes and Failures

My sweet momma has come up to be available to help out if needed. She helped me retrieve my car from the hospital yesterday and hung out here while I went to the grocery store. Today, I ran a few errands in Dallas, so she was here for several hours. She's been a big help and I'm ever so grateful to have her near. None of my family or close friends live anywhere near me. I decided last Saturday that would have to change soon. The last thing you want when you're in a crisis is to be alone.

While I was in Dallas, I was able to cross one of the things off of my 101 List. It sure felt good to drop that money in the Salvation Army Kettle.

I also realized that I was doomed to fail at one of the things on my 101 List and there was just no way around it. I went to Barnes and Noble and even though I started in the magazine section, it wasn't long before I weakened and ended up looking at the Christmas books. Then I was looking at the best sellers. Then I was over at the Customer Service desk seeking a little help remembering the author of the books that True Blood on HBO is based on. All I could remember was the main character's name -- Sookie Stackhouse. Fortunately, a woman walked up just as I said her name and she knew the author and then knew which of the books was the first in the series. Score! I ended up buying 5 books! Plus the magazines I had hoped would keep me away from the books!

I don't think my husband thought I would confess my failure of the book challenge. I had pretty much stretched it already. Now, it's plum broke and I know it. I don't know why I ever thought I could succeed at this particular challenge. I'm a sucker for books any day of the year and a super duper Texas sized sucker when it comes to Christmas books. So, I admit that I failed that one. I've written it on my 101 List and I'm moving on. Life is too damn short.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Life is Never Dull

I don't even really know where to start. On the eighth there was a very nice memorial service for my friend Marianne. We laughed and cried. We ate and visited. We said goodbye the best we could. It's hard to believe that she's been gone a month now. I still think of calling her or telling her something. Part of me thinks I always will.

On the ninth, I had my orientation for the SPCA of Texas in Dallas. I enjoyed it so much and really look forward to volunteering there.

My hubby had been feeling poorly since Tuesday of that week. Running a fever that he couldn't quite get rid of for any length of time. Toward the end of the week he told me that he thought he had an abscess (that had started from a pimple). He really didn't complain much about it or say much else. On Sunday, before I left for the orientation, he mentioned that he was feeling pretty bad and that he might just go on to the ER to get looked at. So, on my way home, I called him to see if I needed to stop at the Kaufman ER to be with him while he waited. He was in Athens because the wait was supposed to be shorter. The last time I had been to the Athens ER, the waiting room was very small, so I opted to stay home until he knew something. I truly thought they would drain the "abscess" and send him home. When he called to say that were admitting him and were probably going to do surgery, I was more than a little surprised!

I'm ashamed to say that it was not my finest hour. I actually told my sweet husband to call me if they decided to do the surgery! Fortunately, I did get up off my broad butt, call him, tell him that I was coming up there and I did go up there right away. So, I was there when the surgeon told us that they suspected a flesh eating bacteria. The only other thing I remember the surgeon saying before the surgery was that my husband could bleed to death on the table. That was a real danger if it was what they thought it was. I was alone and terrified as I waited to see what it was and if he survived the surgery. I tried calling people who I thought might still be up, but no one answered their phones. So, I started praying. Luckily, I had my prayer beads with me. I prayed until I couldn't keep my thoughts straight any longer and then, I just sat and waited.

It seemed like an eternity later that the surgeon came to tell me that my husband survived and was doing very well. It was indeed the flesh eating bacteria! I was pretty much in shock, but so grateful to have my husband safely through the surgery. They had to take skin and tissue to get the bacteria. I learned later that the incision was about 3 inches deep and I accidentally saw for myself that it was about a foot and a half long! So hard to believe it had grown from a pimple in just six days! I sat back down to wait for hubby to be moved to a room.

Just when I was starting to really panic over all that lie ahead for us, I heard one of the doors open and there was my cousin Trina walking toward me! Talk about answered prayers! I knew she was a nurse at that hospial and she worked nights, but I didn't know where she worked. I turned out that she is an ICU nurse. We hugged and I told her what I was doing there. She told me that they were getting a room ready for my hubby in ICU right now and it would be ready as soon as it was cleaned up. She filled me in on all kinds of procedures and calmed me down. Another doctor showed up to talk to me about my hubby and Trina left to do what she had started out to do. A few minutes later, they called to tell me that Richard was on his way to ICU and for me to meet them there.

I helped with paper work while he was put into his room. They wouldn't let me stay overnight with him, so I went home after that. He was in ICU until Tuesday afternoon. Then he went to a regular floor, but was kept in isolation. He stayed there until Monday evening the 17th. We're home now and at this moment a home health care nurse is putting in the wound vac and torturing the poor man. They even called me up to help for a bit and will be praying tonight that they never have to have my help again. If I had wanted to look at open wounds, I would have gone into nursing myself. My father wanted me to. I knew I wasn't cut out for it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day!


Get out there and exercise your right to vote today folks! We live in a great nation where we are free to vote for the candidate of our choice. This has not always been the case for women and minorities. A lot of people suffered a great deal for us to have that right along side white men and I, for one, no longer take it lightly. I hope that you are a registered voter. I hope that you have already voted today or in early voting. I hope that if you haven't, you get up and go right now. And if you don't, I pray that you do a little research on what the people who went before you went through in order to guarantee this right for you. Do not take it for granted in the future. Your vote does count. These elected officials make decisions every single day that effect your life, you money, your future and the future of your children and the world we live in. Put a little effort into reading what the candidates stand for and VOTE! I feel that it is an obligation and a way to honor those who suffered and died so that I could stand in the booth and make my choices known.

Remember there are still many countries in this world where the citizens do not have the right to vote. You are very lucky. Never forget it.

One more thing, I know you're sick of the election by now. I am too. I decided long ago who I would vote for and then I pretty much muted the commercials after that. I get very sick of the back stabbing and name calling, dirty politics that they all use. But don't let your discouragement with the system be an excuse not to vote. That is just lazy and you will regret it when the elected officials you didn't choose make decisions you don't agree with. I actually voted on Halloween this year. The only more appropriate day I could think of would be April Fool's Day, but that wasn't in the early voting period!

The picture shows the little local community center where we normally vote. Since we voted early, we didn't vote there for the final election, but I did vote here for the primary.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Not "Handy"

Well, it's not broken, but it is strained and swollen. I also have arthritis in my thumb at least and maybe my hand. Thankfully, that isn't really bothering me on a regular basis at this point. I have a splint, which is off at that moment. I'm actually going to try to just tape the thumb to my hand because the splint seems to be causing different problems. I may not be able to post as often for a bit. Hubby is about to do a bunch of computer back ups and stuff like that. I'll try post pictures at some point.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Beading!

Well, I'm going to have to break down and go to the dr. about my hand. I don't know exactly how I hurt it, but it's interfering with my life. I don't mind that it slows down doing the laundry. Until I run out of clean clothes, that is. I do mind that it's interfering with my writing, quilting, beading and computing. I was using my cell phone one day when I went to let one of my dogs in the house. The other dog was already in and she tried to keep him out. They started to fight. I held on to the phone as I tried to break up the fight. The dogs never even touched me, but my hand hurt when it was over. It lessens and worsens. It swells. It feels hot to the touch. It just flat hurts. And when you get right down to it, I can't afford to be laid up in any way when my hubby has chronic back pain. One of us needs to be fully functional, all the time. Besides that, I want to do some hand quilting! Which is pretty much impossible right now. I can barely bead -- every once in a while. Certainly not daily, like I want to. So, I've got a dr. appointment for tomorrow afternoon. I hope to get fixed so I can get back to my real life and be creative and fully functioning and happy as a clam.

Speaking of happy though, I do want to say that today is a good day. It's beautiful, sunny and cool. Sparkling! I love this time of year. The poison ivy is starting to turn a gorgeous shade of red! There are even a few trees around with autumn colors showing. It's a great day to be alive. I talked to my friend Sharry yesterday. It was the first time I'd seen her since our mutual friend Marianne had passed. I was already doing much better in my grieving, but she said something that was quite profound to me. "There are worse things than dying." I don't know that I had ever thought of that, but it's very true. It helped even more. I am blessed.

Now, I'm going to go bead for as long as I can!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bad Start turns out to be a Good Day

It's been a very weird day so far. It took me two full hours to get Barkley in the house so that I could go to Dallas this morning. This made me a very unhappy person. He even got out of the yard (by pushing down part of the fence!) and took a tour to regions unknown to me. I sat and calmed down while he ran his little heart out. I figured if I went after him, he'd dash out onto the highway and get hit by a car. After trying repeatedly to get him in, when he finally did come back, I met him at the gate with the leash. He didn't get away from that!

I took my glasses back to be sent back in and remade. Fortunately, I had no problem with that. I just have to wait another three weeks or so.

Then I got to do FUN stuff! I went to a new bead store. Well, it's new to me. I think the proper name of the store is Splendor in the Grass Beads. It was in a darling area of Dallas, with cool older houses and buildings. I enjoyed just driving there. Then the store itself made me want to move right in! I don't know that they really had all much more in stock than the other stores in the Dallas area, but it has such a warm feeling. It's the first time in a long time that I had seriously thought of asking for a job in Dallas again! Then I realized that I would spend so much on gas to get there, that I wouldn't even have any money left over for beads! So, I kept my mouth shut except for the ohhs and ahhs that couldn't help but escape! I really didn't buy much, but I did buy one thing that may be a violation of my 101 list. I got a book on the meanings behind crystals and stones. Now to me, this is a work related book since I'm making prayer beads and want very much to make them for specific people/reasons/illnesses, etc. So, I don't think of it as a violation, but then I can justify just about anything if given enough time. I think there is a feature on here that allows me to add a poll. If it does, I'm going to add it and ask your opinion.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Happy Music

Last night, my hubby ran out of hot water during his shower. This was odd since he knows where everything is at this point in his life and doesn't have a lot of hair left to wash. He just doesn't take long showers. So, that gave us two options. Either the circuit breaker to the hot water heater had tripped or the water heater itself was full of sand. That had happened once before; hot water heater full of sand. Not fun. It's extremely heavy and difficult to get out of the closet it's in when that happens. I could just see the plumbing bill and the money headed down the proverbial drain. Needless to say, I had my fingers crossed for that tripped circuit breaker! Should have been very easy to find out and just flip that thing back into place if that was the problem. Well......

I don't know if you've ever been truly depressed. Clinical, needing medication, depressed. I was shortly after my father died, many years ago. It was something I hope to never sink that far into again. I didn't care about anything. I just wanted to rest. So much so that I thought of driving into a bridge embankment in order to get some. The problem with that idea was that it could very well kill me too. I didn't want that. I had a son to raise. I got help before then. Anyway, I was never that fond of house cleaning to begin with and our house is in the country with lots of dirt and dust and stuff. So, when the depression hit, I did even less than I had been doing. For a very long time, I just did what I needed to do to live here and take care of the basic needs of my family. I'd wash the dishes (no dish washer) and wash the clothes and occasionally clean the bathroom. Who cares about a little dust, right?

I was also a collector back then. I had all kinds of collections. I loved every one of them. Right up until I needed to dust them. I slowly started to sell or give away my collections. I was sick of the dust and I had discovered my allergies by then. I had started to recycle my magazines, mail and aluminum cans. I was getting stuff out of the house that I didn't need or use, to some degree. The problem was that my hubby was as bad, if not worse, than I was. Every time a package came in the mail, he saved the box. Why? I don't know. We seldom reused them. And for some reason, he never looked through his mail. Grrrr! So, there were piles of it. I could go on, but I won't. He's a good man and I love him, but he is a man and has his faults like all men and all women for that matter.

Every once in a while, I'd want to spring clean or autumn clean and I'd take a look around and realize that I hadn't gotten rid of nearly as much as I had thought I had. The thought of tackling the whole place, after so many years of not caring, has been overwhelming. We live in a very small house and we have STUFF everywhere. It's horrible. I keep expecting the board of health or Oprah and a camera crew to show up at any minute. I live in fear that someone will just drop by for a visit. So, I decided to take it pretty much one room at a time and not think about the others until that one was finished. Of course just starting that one room is sometimes a big step.

So, last night when my hubby ran out of hot water, I knew I'd have to work on the office today. You see, there were so many empty boxes stacked up in front of the closet, that we couldn't get to the circuit box! So, I put on my happy music and got to work. It took a couple of hours of emptying and breaking down boxes before I finally got in there. The circuit breaker had indeed tripped. I have no idea why, but I do know that I will always be able to get to it in the future. Things are changing around here and they will stay changed. It's going to take a while, but this place will eventually shine like a copper penny and when it does, I'm having a big party!

I had to stop the cleaning for today until I can go donate, recycle and take things to the dump. I did take a "before" picture and when it's all finished, I'll post it with the "after" picture. It will be very embarrassing for me, but I'm hoping it will also be incentive not to ever let it happen again. Oh, by the way, I'm still on medication for depression, but I'm hopeful that one day, I'll be able to stop taking it. Positive change!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Ramblings of a Grieving Crazy Woman

Marianne's funeral was today in Michigan. I live in TX and money is tight right now, I mean I haven't even seen my grand kids in over a year, so I couldn't go to the funeral. That made me very sad today. Of course it's a wonderful, clear, cool, beautiful fall day here. Just didn't feel right that it should be so nice, but I was glad it was when I finally hauled myself to the grocery store. You know you're down when going to the grocery store cheers you up!




I had an appointment with my allergy doctor on Thursday. Found out that I have a sinus infection. Can you believe that? This is the second year in a row that he has done sinus x-rays on me and we've discovered a sinus infection. I've had headaches, literally all of my life. Even as a small child I remember having them daily. I'm so used to being in head pain that I don't even notice it any more! The pain from this is so mild in comparison to a migraine, I haven't even been taking anything for it. It's like nothing to me. I did think I was getting a sinus infection several weeks ago. I even went to my family doctor. I didn't have a fever and was showing no signs of pain when he pressed on my face, so he said I didn't have one. I think I had one then and I've had one ever since! The allergist said that I seem to get sinus infections when I am stressed and overly tired. Great! One more thing to add to the list. I wonder if this is related to living with smokers too? I tend to get bronchitis if I get a cold because of living all of my life with smokers. Now, the doctors are concerned that I'll start getting pneumonia. I got a shot for it last year and I keep my fingers crossed.



I broke my glasses last month. The ear piece fell off as I folded them to go to sleep one night. Talk about an irritant. I can't see without my glasses! I can't even hear to talk on the phone without them. I know that's weird, but it's me. So, I go get my eyes checked and picked out new ones, which is no easy feat when you have to look at yourself with your nose pressed to the mirror. Then as we were writing up the order, the manager of the optical department realized that I had purchased that little warranty thing that I usually never purchase and I still had several months left on it! Woo hoo! I was going to get my glasses replaced for free! And I was told they had the same frames in stock. I picked them up on Thursday. Seems like there's an old saying that goes something like anything for free isn't worth what it cost or something like that. Well, the first thing I noticed is that even though I was told they would be the same frames, they aren't. I think they have a slight cat eye 60's look to them. I've done that and didn't really think it was a great look for me in the 60's, but I was a kid so it didn't matter. I've already planned to buy new frames and use these glasses for back up. Then today, I went to clean them and the right lens fell out! It also did this the day I got them while I was still getting them adjusted. That should have been a warning. So, I drag out the really ugly glasses that I use for back ups right now and try to put the new ones in the case to safely carry them back to the store on Monday. They won't fit! The ear pieces are so long that they had to bend them about half way down the length to get them to fit me which makes them hang outside the case! That's one more thing that proves they are different glasses. I would have never bought glasses that didn't fit to begin with! But they sure didn't care if they fit when they replaced them. I'm not a happy customer.




OK, I'm taking a deep cleansing breath. I've just reread this and it sounds much more like bitching than rambling. Well, enough is enough. I've posted a couple of pictures of some of the prayer beads that I've made. I've made myself one set. It's the one with the frog on the bottom. I wanted to continue the earthy feel I had from the beads and I loved the frog. I just use it as my cross when I'm praying. The one with the dog charm is for a friend's hubby. He was in a serious motorcycle accident just over a year ago and he's a peace officer. That one has healing beads and protective beads and the dog charm is to represent protection too. There are others that are gifts and I plan to put some on etsy. Making them has been a joy for me. I love working with the stone beads and seeing all the wonders the Lord made for us in them. I love the feel of the stones as I pray. They are somewhat cool to the touch at first and then they warm up. The practice of using prayer beads has centered me and helped focus my prayers. I've really enjoyed them.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Good Girlfriends

I'm missing Marianne so much. Yesterday, I cried for about 10 minutes when the reality of never getting email from her again hit me. I know in my heart she's gone, but my head is having a hard time accepting it. And yet, I'm very fortunate. I have several very good female friends. I know other ladies who are not that lucky.


I would have never had the opportunity to meet Charmaine or get to know her if she wasn't my sister-in-law. We met under horrible circumstances. My mother-in-law had just had a massive heart attack and she came out from west TX to drive to Mississippi with us. We had hoped to get there in time for Ma's surgery, but she didn't survive long enough to get to surgery. We knew she was gone before we left. Hard circumstances to meet family for the first time. Charmaine is 5 foot nothing and a little fire cracker of determination, grit, energy and fun. She's one of those people you want fighting for you in your corner. I could talk to her and I enjoyed her. I wanted her to stay forever. Thankfully, she did move to the central part of TX, so I do see her much more often, but still not nearly enough. She's mellowed over the last 30 or so years, but not so much as to take away all the fun! She's a person I truly respect and find inspiring. I do wish she wasn't quite such a home body though so we could see each other more often.

I met my friend Catherine when my son and her youngest son were in kindergarten together. Well, we had actually briefly met before, but we didn't become friends until then. The boys are 28/27 now, so that's about 20 years ago, I guess. She was one of those people I was just drawn to like a moth to a flame. I've been lucky enough to meet a few people in my life that I felt an instant connection with, but she was the first (and one of the few) who let me into her life. She knows everything about me and where the bodies are buried. The boys are still friends too. Her son got married this month and my son drove from CA to CO to be there. I was so happy that he was able to. I'm sure that they'll still be friends in 20 more years too. Did I mention that she moved out of state? She was the first to leave me in such a way. It took me years to get over her not being in TX. Thank you Lord for phones! I can't call Catherine a best friend, because to me she's literally a sister. For many years, she was closer to me than my flesh and blood sister. We even look a little a like.

I met Marianne next at the quilt guild and we both worked at the quilt shop together too. I treasure our times together and the memories we made. We didn't become super close until after Beth moved to TN.

Beth is another friend I made at the quilt shop and another person I was instantly drawn to. Thankfully, she let me into her life also. I've tried to remember how long we've known each other, but for the life of me, I can't remember. We talked about it fairly recently. I think Beth figured it out and told me, but it's one of those things I didn't retain. I miss her being here on a daily basis. She was my touchstone. She kept me level and honest with myself. She's really good at knowing what direction we're headed in too. I, on the other hand, am directionally challenged. We do use the phone and we visit as often as possible, every one or two years, but it's definitely not the same. I miss just spending a day sewing or scrapbooking with her. I miss just sitting and talking. I just miss her.

I miss all of these ladies. Even Charmaine who is in the same state as I am and is only a couple of hours away.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Computer Time

Seems I've been taking up too much computer time and hubby is starting to get upset with me. It's actually his computer. So, I may not be able to post as much for a while and that is one reason the posts have slowed down a bit. Fortunately, he just had a birthday and he ordered himself a new computer because this one is slow and very hard to get going. It's old and cranky now. So, I may get the old and cranky one sometime in the future! I don't know if we have another monitor though, so it could be a while before I actually use it.



I've been making prayer beads and just sorting through the beads. That always lifts my spirits. I ordered some glass seed beads after becoming very frustrated at trying to bead with 2 mm black onyx. My wire fit, but it was so hard to see the holes! Thinner wire could find the holes so much easier, but I don't have any of that around. After about 2 hours and only 4 beads on the wire, I finally admitted defeat and changed the design. I know, I was being exceedingly stubborn.







Another thing that makes me happy are the rare occasions when I find these wonderful little spice jars! They were made by Hull in the 1920's. I have 2 of them. I have no idea how many are actually out there. I've seen one that says mustard (boy would I love to have that one!). The one I usually see says spice. I'm guessing that more of them survived since it wasn't assigned a particular spice. Maybe it was the one in the set that didn't get used much. There are matching canisters also. I used to have 2 of those also, but I gave them to my momma to sell because they were just too small for my uses. The little spice jars on the other hand are huge for a spice canister. They are really good too. At first I didn't put anything in them. I just enjoyed looking at them. Then one summer I started making this zucchini cinnamon nut bread all the time. I mean zucchini grows so fast and I was pretty tired of eating it every night, so I made the bread and gave it as gifts. Putting the cinnamon in it's jar made it so much easier to measure. That cinnamon is still in that jar. I've bought new cinnamon and am using it from the little metal containers they come in, and I've just never emptied the old from the cinnamon jar. I guess because it brings back good memories. When I brought down the jars to take the pictures, I opened up that jar and the cinnamon still smells! It's not as strong, but after 10 or so years, I didn't expect it to smell at all. I was prepared to throw it out. I still haven't.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Trying to get happy



I am a bit depressed, to say the least. I was laying in bed yesterday, mid-morning, basically with my head covered. I wasn't trying to sleep, but I didn't want to get up, when Juliette called. We talked for a while about Marianne. Then Juliette talked me into heading to the quilt shop. It was a beautiful, sunny day with blue skies. It didn't fit my mood at all. Not my idea of what the day should look like. It should have been storming with angry black clouds, lightning flashing and floods in low laying places. I felt a little like a vampire who knew she shouldn't be in the sunshine. It just made me more depressed to be out in it. I'm glad I put the miles between me and my home though. I didn't realize it at the time, but it was my first step in trying to get happy again. There were a lot of Marianne's friends at the quilt shop. We had naturally gathered at a place she loved, to talk about our memories of her. We cried, hugged, smiled and we laughed. Surprisingly, we laughed more than we cried. It helped to be together.


The worst part of being together though is that Marianne would have normally been in the middle of all of these women. I keep thinking, and I think I said out loud once, "She should be here.". That part really sucked. Marianne is the first friend I've ever lost. She was a fiber in the fabric of my life. I feel like I'm unraveling at this point, but I know, since I have lost a parent, that eventually a knot will form from the threads and I'll go on from there. I'll be forever changed by her loss, but I will go on.


I slept better last night. Today is another beautiful day, but I'm inside and it's not upsetting me. I'm even enjoying it a bit. I'm still not happy, but I'm working on it. I dug out more fabric and layered my little mini black cat quilt a little while ago. Marianne loved cats. She had three. It's fitting that I'll be finishing this quilt as I think of her. I have ideas for two more quilts running through my head now too. One is due to Marianne's death. A grief quilt. I've been wanting to make the other one for a while and I think the colors would be cheerful for me now.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Marianne Gildea

I got some horrible news a couple of hours ago. My dear, sweet, wonderful friend Marianne passed away either today or last night. I'm just heart broken. She was a single woman. A quilter. A volunteer. A very good friend. A sister and aunt. She was my running around buddy. She was very busy. She worked in the medical field taking care of the insurance side things for the doctors she worked for. She was very good at what she did, but she didn't make enough money at it. She taught different aspects of quilting, worked at a quilt shop part time to try to make ends meet and loved to go to quilt retreats. She also loved her family very much. She had three cats and loved all of them. She was funny and sweet and she truly cared for people. She loved politics and the election process. I'm sad that she'll miss seeing the outcome of the Presidential elections because I know who she would have voted for and she would have loved to watch every minute of the tallies being shown. She was kind. She was one of my very best friends. She would have been at that 50th birthday party weekend with my favorite women friends. Everyone there who had not had the pleasure of meeting her before, would have loved her by the time they left. Now, we'll all miss her when we do get together. I can't imagine my times in Dallas without her. I can't imagine going to a Texas Rangers baseball game without her. Or drinking the rare margarita. She taught me to hand piece. She taught me to volunteer more and taught me to say no when I volunteered too much. We talked about the good things and the bad things. About the current things and the past things. I treasured our friendship. I'm going to miss her more than I can say.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's been a year!

A year ago today I gave up drinking Coke! The real thing. Full of sugar and caffeine. I've drank more soft drinks than water since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Way back then, we probably didn't even know they were bad for us. And way back then, my drink of choice was Dr. Pepper. I drank Dr. Pepper until my hubby joined the Air Force and money got so tight. We would sometimes have to pay our apartment rent half at a time on each payday of the month or we wouldn't eat. We were lucky to have a very understanding landlord. I bet they aren't as understanding nowadays. When the money ran out, it just ran out. We didn't have credit cards or anything like that. So, there were no soft drinks to be had once they were gone. Come payday, I would hit that corner store first thing and get me a Dr. Pepper (which I should point out was a type of coke to a girl in Texas - you'd be in a restaurant and say you wanted a coke and they would ask you what kind, you'd say Dr. Pepper). So, one day I walk up to the corner store and they have raised the bottle deposit (remember those?) on Dr. Pepper by five cents! That put me over the top. I only had enough money for one! OR I could get two Cokes. I switched on the spot and never looked back. A girl has to have her caffeine and I've never drank coffee.

Cokes and I became fast and furious friends. Over the years I would flabbergast my friends by how fast I could drink one. Then somewhere in my mid-twenties I started having migraines. The older I got, they worse they got and the more frequently I had them. I knew they were triggered by perfumes and other strong smells and by bright sun shine, storms and hormones, but I couldn't figure out anything else. After years of medication and suffering I finally asked my family Dr. to send me to an allergist to see if I had any food allergies that contribute to the migraines. I found out what foods I was allergic to. Which ones to be careful of and which ones to avoid all together. I also found out that Cokes can cause a migraine even if you cut down on them because of the caffeine withdrawal. Even if you manage to have only one a day, that one is enough to put you in caffeine withdrawal and trigger a migraine. I gave them up the next morning cold turkey, which just happened to be October 16, 2007. I haven't had a Coke since. From that moment on, I've drank only water and occasionally milk or juice. Sometimes even herbal tea (got to be sure there's no caffeine you know!) and I drink some Sprite now. Too many Sprites actually, but I'm working on that too. I will admit that I had one Dr. Pepper when I was on a jury for a capital murder trial. It was the day the verdict was handed down and there was no whiskey available at the court house. I figured I was less likely to get hooked again on one Dr. Pepper than one Coke. I was right.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Special Day because of a Special Person

I just realized that I didn't take a picture of my Aunt Joan today when I was with her. Dang bang it! Today is Aunt Joan's happy birthday! She is so very special to me. My parents divorced when I was about ten and Aunt Joan divorced at some point around then also. Maybe earlier actually, I'm not sure. She and my cousin Greg came to live with us for a while during the time that dad was working in Vietnam. Dad went over there when I around eight years old, so it would have been in 1968. He wasn't in the War, he went there to work on a newspaper (I think setting up the machines) so that he could make more money than he could in the States at the time. Aunt Joan and I would stay up late and watch Medical Center together on Saturday night. I think it came on at 11:30 PM and it was an hour long show. We both thought that Chad Everett was really cute. I wouldn't have been allowed to stay up that late by myself at that age, but because Aunt Joan wanted to see it too and didn't mind me watching with her, I got to stay up to see that darling blue eyed man with his brown hair! I'm pretty sure the station went off the air after that show. It wasn't like today with the 24 hours of non-stop shows and hundreds of stations. I think we had three in Dallas back then. Right before the late news each night, they would say "It's 10 PM, do you know where your children are?". When the stations did sign off for the night, they played the Star Spangled Banner while showing the Flag waving. I always thought that was wonderful, even as a little kid. These were the years of the Laugh-In TV show. I used to kid Aunt Joan and call her Fanny Farkle. I think I called my momma Lady Fish during this time too. I know I came up with the ideas of these odd "pet" names for these wonderful women in my life because of Laugh-In! They never showed any irritation with me over these names either. They were always such good sports about it. Truly patient, loving women. I was lucky to have them around me.



I love to go see Aunt Joan. We usually go to Tyler and have lunch and then we go to the Barnes and Noble book store. After all, we both love to eat and read. Today was no different. Although it was raining, we hit the road and had a good lunch at Jason's Deli. Then went to the bookstore. Y'all will be pleased (and some of you will be extremely surprised) that I didn't even buy a magazine! I didn't even look at the books, but it sure was tough. I started feeling a little weak and wanted to start book shopping, so I was really glad that Aunt Joan was sitting in the Starbucks area, so I could join her there and get away from the temptations. We had a good time. We usually do, thankfully. We get along great and have always been close. I enjoy every minute I get to spend with my special aunt.



This cute little coffee place is in Tyler. We've seen it in the past and wanted to take a picture of it. Today, I finally remember-ed to do that. The coffee cup has steam coming out, but it's so cloudy today, that it's hard to see. Click on the picture of it and it shows up a little better. I didn't get the name of it, but on the cup it looks like it's Yahooz. If anyone needs it, let me know and I'll go back over there and get it for you.

I just thought of another sweet memory of my aunt. When my hubby and I were pretty much newly married, money was tight. He was in the Air Force and we lived in Biloxi, MS far from my family. I was pretty lonely and with a tight budget, I didn't get to do much or have many "extras". One day I went to the mailbox and Aunt Joan had sent me a letter and a $5 bill. She told me to go do something fun. So, I gathered up my courage to go to the movies all by myself. Something I had never done before. I went to see Coalminers Daughter with Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones. I loved it. I had fun. And to this day, I can still quote parts of the movie. My favorite line was when Loretta got upset at her husband for being cranky and she'd tell him "You sound like an ol' bear a growlin'!". I say that to my hubby sometimes too.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Everybody's Birthday!

Today is Everybody's Birthday! OK, it's not everybody's, but it sure feels that way. My father and mother were both born on this day, one year apart. Growing up with your parents having the same birthday is a little odd. Needing (or wanting) to get two special gifts for two important people in your life almost makes the day feel like Christmas or something. I don't know how else to explain it, but that's how it felt to me. My sister may have a totally different take on it.


My husband shares the same birthday. He's 20 years younger than my dad. When we were dating and I found that out, I almost left him on the spot. It was too late by then though, he had me hook, line and sinker. So, now three of the most important people in my life shared the same birthday. My parents were divorced when I was ten, so the added pressure of who do I actually spend the day with was almost more than I could take. It's bad enough to figure that stuff out for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but BIRTHDAYS! Yikes!


I wish I had pictures of all three to share with you today. Unfortunately, my dad passed away in 1995, so I have nothing on my digital camera of him. I'll have to look for something that can be scaned in. My hubby is camera shy right now, so that one will take a while. The picture of my momma, is one I took in CO when we went to see my sister and her family in early September of this year. She's as lovely as she was when we were kids. Happy Birthday Momma and Richard!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Calgone Take Me Away......

Sometimes I just want to leave. Get in the car and drive to points unknown. Today is turning into one of those days. First the chicken I'm cooking is questionable. I had three packages in the fridge and one had gone bad. The other two smell fine, but the house now smells like bad chicken. I've sprayed the house, but it's still lingering like a bad omen of dinner to come. Makes me want to chuck it all and go out for pizza.

Then I've been worried about a friend for several days. I decided that I had to email her and express my concerns for her today. Always a dicey thing to do. You never know how something is going to sound in email. She seemed to take it the way I intended it, which I am extremely grateful for, but I don't know that I helped her.

Next I got an email from one of my nieces in which she's chewing on me for something I said about her mother, my sister. Again, you never know how something is going to sound in email. I didn't mean anything by what I said and was only stating fact. My sister and I have not always gotten along, but we have a wonderful relationship now. I try very hard not to jeopardize our relationship in any way. Sis is extremely busy and has gone through some horrible health issues in the past. She's handled things that I honestly don't know that I could have handled. Had I been in her place, I may very well have ended up in a padded room at the funny farm, but Sis handled it with grace. I truly admire her for that. So, to have my niece misconstrue my meaning totally floored me and upset me more than a little bit. It brought on the "Calgone...take me away...." moment. That moment took me to the photo section of the computer to look at pictures I've taken along the way. The building here is of the Duomo di S. Marco in Pordenone, Italy or in English, it's the Cathedral of Saint Marco in Pordenone, Italy. I loved the angles of the different parts of the building coming together there. I'm sure Italy at this time of year is just beautiful. Wish I was there right now.

The picture up top was taken in CA when I visited my son and his family. When I first got there, I thought it was the ugliest part of the country I'd ever been in, but I soon saw a beauty in it that can't be matched anywhere else. I wouldn't mind being there today either. I guess I'd pretty much like to be anywhere right now other than at home. I guess I've got a good case of cabin fever.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Odds and Ends

I have made a few changes to my list of 101 Things to do in 1001 Days. I spoke in an earlier post about a few of the things already that I was feeling weren't really a challenge. The ones that have been changed have *** right after the number. I changed my doing something different for my birthday from getting a tattoo or having a charity birthday party (which could still be a possibility) to having a weekend with my very favorite women friends. I changed the sewing each week (since my machine is out of commission) to doing something creative. It can be beading, sewing by hand or machine or anything else I can think of that is creative. The only other one I've changed so far is the letting 10 people go ahead of me in line on 10 different days. I changed that to going to each of the exhibits in Quilt Mania 2. I've still got to figure out one more thing.



I started working some on the black cat hand dyed fabric last night. I've decided to make it into a mini quilt. It will be very different for me and unexpected. Even with my injured hand, I had so much fun doing the embroidery on it! I was putting words on fabric! Why, oh why did I have to make it so hard, for so long? I could have been having lots of fun for ages. I feel like a whole new world has opened up to me and I really think I owe it all to Jude Hill, writer of the blog Spirit Cloth. (A link to her blog is on the right. I urge you to take a look if you like quilts, artistic things or if you just like beautiful things.) It wasn't until I saw her work that it dawned on me that I was making it so much more difficult than it had to be.



While I was working on the embroidery last night, I was also up late and not sleeping. I watched most of Silverado on AMC and then I watched North to Alaska. They kept advertising that they were going to be showing The Sting on Monday night. I love The Sting! And I love Silverado. These are both movies that I watch over and over, especially if I have nothing else to do. I think I'll have to start a favorite movies list to have on the blog also. There are quite a few that I'd own, if I could.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Challenges

I realized last night that I had not taken a photograph in two days! The reason for this is that I've injured my right thumb somehow and my whole hand has been in pain. It's been difficult to do anything and everything. The easiest thing is typing on the computer and that hurts too, especially if I do too much of it. Hand writing in my gratitude journal has come to a stop also, but I've still managed to stay within my 4 times a week goal. I'll restart the photo challenge today and it will just end a couple of days later than the 1001 day challenge. Or maybe I should replace it on the list and make the photo challenge a separate challenge. There are actually three other items I've been thinking of changing on the list - #14 Sew every week (my machine is in need of repairs), #79 Let 10 people go before me in line (feels pretty lame since I do that kind of thing a lot anyway) and #88 Learn to paint old looking signs (what in the world would I do with them?). Of course, I have no idea what to replace these items with, so for now, they'll stay. I'll let you know if I change them.



I did change my birthday idea (#76). For the doing something different for my 50th birthday, I used to have down getting a tattoo or having a charity type party. Now, I've got down something that I have truly dreamed of doing for several years. Having a weekend with all of my very favorite women together! A quilting retreat type weekend. I've told two friends about it so far. One was a little less than enthusiastic. Her reaction made me realize that in this financial climate, it really may not be possible to have my friends fly in from different states for a weekend. I doubt they can afford the travel expenses and I doubt I can afford the lodging expenses or meals for a crowd. So, now I'm not sure what to do about it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Trees

One thing my oldest granddaughter and I have in common is our love of trees. When CV was a tiny little thing, just learning to walk, she had to touch every tree she was near. She'd stretch out that little arm and say "tree" until you went with her to touch it or if she was walking, she'd just try to take off toward it herself. I always got so tickled about it. When she got there, she would just pat her little hand on the bark like she was saying hello to a friend. I believe she would have hugged the trees if she could have gotten her little arms around them.


I love to photograph the sun or sky through tree branches. I love the way the limbs all criss cross and reach up. I think they're just beautiful. A bare or dead tree is just as beautiful to me as one full of leaves. I've made quilted postcards with bare trees on them. Maybe I need to make a larger quilt of tree branches. Who knows, one of these photos could be my inspiration.


My father was also a very big tree fan. CV never met her Great Grandfather. He died when her father was 15, but she said something odd one day that led us to wonder..... I'll start with the quilt stories. I made my father a quilt when he was very ill. I chose to use red, white and blue and patriotic fabrics because he was a Navy veteran. I had hoped to have the quilt finished by Father's Day that year, but it wasn't. So, I showed it to him in progress because I was afraid he wouldn't live to see it completed. I told him that I'd give it to him as soon as I finished quilting it. I'm a hand quilter and I had hand basted the layers together. Basting stitches are big and are just there to keep the layers from shifting while you stitch. As you get to them, you clip them away from where you're working. So, in some areas of the quilt, I had fine hand quilting and in other areas there was basting. My quilting stitches were tiny and dad didn't really notice them, but he sure noticed the basting. I'll never forget what he said: "Oh, honey! You're quilting is kind of big.". He sounded so sad for me. I just smiled and showed him the quilting and explained the basting. He felt much better for me after that! Fortunately, I did finish the quilt before he passed and he was able to use it for several months. He told me he wanted my son to get the quilt when he died. After his death, I added an additional label telling about the passing down of the quilt and I added a picture of my son and father together.


Now, my son was very protective of his Granpa's quilt. After he was married and they started to have kids, no one was allowed to use the quilt unless they were sick. I can't remember how old CV was when this happened. She was pretty small and sick and getting to use the quilt. She asked her mom about the picture on the back. M explained to her that it was a picture of her daddy when he was a little boy and he was with his Granpa. She also told CV that her daddy's Granpa was her Great Granpa. CV didn't really understand all that Great stuff. She said: "Well, I don't know who that man is, but I know he's watching over me.". When M told me that, I got chills. It makes me extremely happy to think that my dad may be able to look in on his grandson and greatgrandchildren and be a angel watching over them when they need it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I just joined the Army of Women this morning. I was with my friend Marianne when I first heard of this new research group started by Dr. Susan Love, President of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, who has partnered with the Avon Foundation to get one million healthy women signed up to volunteer for breast cancer research. We both looked at each other and said "I can do that!".

That was a few days ago. Despite my good intentions, I forgot all about it. Fortunately, O the Oprah magazine had a tiny article about it. So, I went right to the website
www.armyofwomen.org to check it out! They want women of all ages and ethnicities. I fit in that category! Quoting from O "The commitment is only what you want it to be; women might be asked simply to donate blood, saliva or small amounts of tissue." It said basically the same thing on the website, so I joined the list of volunteers. Now, I'm one in a million. Or I will be when one million are signed up. Hopefully, we'll end this disease before my grandchildren are old enough to get it.

Another site I'd like to mention is
www.thebreastcancersite.com/clicktogive You can go to this site and click on the pink rectangle on the upper right hand side of the page and help fund free mammograms for low income women! There is no cost to you and no catch. Just something wonderful to do for your fellow woman. While you're there, you can look at the things for sale on the site too and possibly find something you need to purchase. Each purchase also helps fund mammograms. You'll notice that there are other tabs at the top of the clicking page for Animal Rescue, Child Health, Hunger, Literacy and the Rainforest. You can click on any or all of those also and help to fund different things related to each one.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Here's one...


Here's a pineapple miniature quilt that I made using only two fat quarters to make the nine blocks. The fat quarters are both batiks. The border and binding fabrics are hand dyed that I bought from my friend Carol Morrissey. (I just love her hand dyed fabrics and patterns!) This picture really doesn't do the little quilt justice. It's too light and doesn't show the richness of the fabrics. It took me well over a year to add the binding to this little beauty. Mostly because I liked having it around. It was an extremely late thank you gift to the veterinary surgeon who saved Elly's life in her first year.

A Quilt for Momma

I started this quilt during a trip to Nashville to see the AQS show and my friend Beth. We rented a room and stayed for several days and got to sew and see everything. I remember the room wasn't too great. I think there were ants in it and the mini fridge didn't work well. The air conditioner may have leaked too. But it didn't matter. Good friends and good times won out! On this trip, I discovered Keith Urban! No, I didn't see him. He was on a rerun of Austin City Limits that we watched. I've been a hard and fast fan ever since. I was piecing this quilt the first time I saw him singing.



I made the quilt for my momma. She loves log cabin quilts and fall colors. So, it was hers from the very beginning. I picked each fabric as I thought of her. She didn't know about it until it was hanging in the Dallas Quilt Celebration. Months later, she was kind enough to loan the quilt to me as a sample while I was teaching this class at the Quilters Connection in Dallas. When I was finished with it, I kept it in my car to protect it from my husband's cigarette smoke until I saw her again. One day I went out to my car to get something and looked at the quilt and saw a hole in it! Something had eaten the backing and batting right up to the top of the quilt! Of course, I knew that the something was a MOUSE! Yes, I had a mouse inside my car and it wasn't the first time either! (They can crawl in through your air conditioning system.) So, I yanked that quilt out of that car and took it inside to the relative safety of smoke and planned my next moves. I set traps for the mouse and found the same fabric that I had on the back for the repair. When I called my momma (I was all upset) to let her know about the damage, she laughed! I guess she knew (better than I) that in the grand scheme of life, this really wasn't that bad. She sure made me feel better. I patched the hole and since I'm not very good at machine quilting, I asked my friend Carol Mo. to do that part for me. She quilted in the original holes and you can't even tell it's been repaired from the front and you have to really hunt on the back to see the repair. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the completed repair.

As I've said....







I love words! These pictures were taken on a trip to Paducah, KY in 2007 for the annual quilt show held there every April. The one on the bottom was taken somewhere in TN near a hotel my friend Beth and I stayed in on the way there. The two up top were taken in Paducah. I love the old advertising on buildings! I hate that so much of it has disappeared.

Motherly Kisses


I'm looking through pictures today. Trying to find one of M that I can put on here without fear of her wanting to kill me later. She is another family member who doesn't like to have her picture taken. So far, I haven't found one that is clear and shows her face. I am running across other cute, fun pictures that I'd like to share though and I finally realized that I can post more than one entry to my blog a day! After all, it's my blog and I can do what I want with it.


This is a picture of Elly licking Barkley when he was new to the family. I love this one because it looks like she's kissing him to me. She was acting very motherly when he was tiny. Now, of course, she is very much back to her Alpha Female act and she never lets him forget who is boss!

Talking to kids

I love to talk to kids! You just never know what they'll say. My granddaughter CL is always interesting to talk to. She may converse back and forth with me (as in let me ask questions and she'll answer them) or she may carry on a one sided dialogue telling me about everything and anything that has happened over the last year. She has done the one woman show since we first started to talk on the phone and I've heard in great detail about Halloween, Christmas and Valentine's Day in April or June of the next year! Now that she's grown up some, she does listen to me and knows that she can take an occasional breath and I may ask a question for her to answer. It's always a treat to me when she does this.

Now CL is just precious and I love her dearly, but she's never seemed to care as much for me as CV does. Don't get me wrong, CL and I enjoy every minute we have together, but when it's time for me to go home or them to leave, she takes it in stride and pretty much says "goodbye, I love you" and doesn't look back. So, I'm always a little surprised when we're on the phone because she always asks if I'm coming to see her today! I can't tell you how much it pleases me to hear her ask that and at the same time saddens me! I would love to be able to tell her YES each and every time, but we live in different states. Something I didn't think of when I was picturing grandchildren. I always thought they'd basically be right down the street. So, yesterday when she said "Gramma, are you coming to see me today?". I had that same thrill and swift kick of sadness. I said "No, honey I can't.". She said something next that she's never said before "Grampa won't let you, will he?". I was so surprised by this question that I know I sat there with my mouth open for at least half a minute! Then I decided against explaining financial woes and calmly said "No, he won't!". She made this little "tisking" noise that said exactly what she thought of that! It's that noise that all women recognize and understand and I was totally shocked was coming from her at the tender age of six! Kids are so much fun!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tongue Tied

Wow! My postings came to an abrupt stop there for a little while, didn't they? The reason? I think it's because I'm tongue tied! I have so many ideas to share and directions to go in, that I don't know where to go next. So, today, I may just ramble. Clear my head and see what happens.

Today is my grandson JT's fifth birthday! So hard to believe how fast they are all growing up. I wish I was there with him to give him a big hug and swipe a big piece of birthday cake! Which I shouldn't be wishing for (the cake at least) because my hubby and I are in the process of cutting back and soon to be cutting out processed sugar. Oh boy, I'm going to need help with this one! I didn't get this fluffy from eating veggies.

I broke my glasses this week. I can't see a thing without my glasses. There have been times when you'd swear that I couldn't hear without them either, since I put them on to answer the phone if I've been asleep! Fortunately the glasses were under warranty. So, I had my eyes checked, found out that my prescription has changed a bit and I was able to get a whole new pair for about 1/5 - 1/6 of what a new pair would have cost! Hurray! Now, I just have to wear a really old pair, that are also broken (but super glued together) until the new ones come in. They've been giving me daily headaches so I'm really looking forward to the new pair.

I haven't had daily headaches for almost a year! Last Oct. is when I discovered my food allergies. There was only one thing I was really allergic to -- beef. There were several others that gave me some symptoms, so I have to be careful about eating too much of them or combining them. Cheese is one of those things. Chocolate is another. I can't have beef at all, but I have found bison and I like it.

Time to change gears here. It took some work (after several mistakes and lots of fury) but I finally have my selling account set up on eBay. I have several of the prayer beads made up and I'm just waiting for my tax number to arrive so I can go legally sell to the public!

I've taken a few "before" pictures of areas I want to clean up around here. I don't know that I'll ever share them with you though. They are quite embarrassing.

When I was in Big D yesterday doing the glasses thing, I did not go to a bookstore. Let me hear those cheers! Yes, I'm surprised and pleased with myself that I was able to hang tough. I realize it's basically only been a couple of weeks, but I know of a book I want to read and I know it's bound to be out there, even though I don't know the title. I heard them talking about it on Sunday Morning last Sunday. It's about this cat named Dewey that lived in a library in a small town in Iowa after he had been dumped in the book return slot on an extremely cold night. I think they said it was 16 degrees below zero that night. Dewey looked like my Barney and sounded so sweet. I've always believed that if an animal knows you've rescued them, they love you even more and they actually show you that they appreciate it. I'm going to have to hound my library for a copy. Which is not easy to do and may do no good at all. When The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd was on the best seller list, my local library did not have it and had never heard of it. I put in an inter-library request for it. They NEVER got it! I ended up buying the book a few months later. I hope the movie is as good as the book, but I don't see how it could be.

I'm going to be posting more pictures soon. I know I want to show you my hull green wheat spice canisters. There were other things too, but I've forgotten what they were for the moment. Hopefully this rambling has cleared my head and I'll be back to the normal way I like to post tomorrow. I know I'm feeling more upbeat and creative since writing all of this down. Thanks for listening and I'll try not to do this to you very often.