Thursday, August 24, 2017

So, Who Am I Kidding?

Has anyone else practically given up blog-reading for Facebook?  It's so quick and easy to look at who's posting what and get a snapshot of friends' lives on my phone. Seems I rarely sit down at the computer any more unless I'm A: shopping on Amazon,  B: searching Craigslist, or C: paying bills.  Most of the time I even read my emails on my phone.

But then I miss out on some of those wonderful photos of quilts, and grandchildren, and food.
I really have to start setting aside some time each day to get caught up.

So, what's new in our household?  Well, I went Whole Food, Plant Based in January. Met my new doc, who recommended Dr. Fuhrman's book The End of Diabetes,  and from there, Eat to Live.  Made a convert out of me. When I started reading some of the info out there, such as The China Study, Engine 2, My Beef with Meat, and started (but never finished) How Not to Die, I was shocked and dismayed at what meat and dairy do to the human body.  I watched Forks Over Knives, What the Health, Food Matters, and some other documentaries and they changed how I live now.
(That's me on the right in November.)

Since January, I've lost 35 lbs., started going to the YMCA for water aerobics and weight training 3 days/week, with Silver Sneakers yoga 2 days/week, and am trying to learn to cook differently. It's hard to undo 60+ years of poor eating habits, and unlearn poor cooking preps. Jack is not on board--yet--but I did get him to promise to watch 2 documentaries with me.  He thinks we are too old to start eating differently, but I told him we are never too old to begin eating healthy.
(This is me in July.)

Jack was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, too, which is an even bigger reason to get him off meats, dairy, and processed foods.  Fortunately prostate cancer has an 85% cure rate, so with the hormone therapy, and the radiation therapy, we're hoping he's part of the 85%. We met with the dietitian today to discuss his current meals. Unfortunately, he has to be on a low-fiber diet for a while, but she said after his radiation therapy is over, she will discuss what his diet needs to be to maximize his health, and what will need to be added back into his diet.

He has always been an optimistic person, and that's half the battle, so I know he'll do well.

Hazel is 2 1/2 now, going on 20. She is so sweet, and so stubborn, and her mom deserves this strong-willed child!  I have to laugh sometimes, because she reminds me so much of Dawn--only more precocious!  She loves coming to see us and we love having her AND sending her back.  We have to nap afterwards.  lol

Her daycare class planted pumpkin seeds in cups and after they grew a bit, sent them home. Dawn doesn't really have time to tend a garden, so she planted one in their inherited raised bed garden, and I planted the other 2 in mine.  This picture was a couple of months ago, and now one of the plants has a nice, fat little pumpkin growing. I have learned how to pollinate the flowers, so I'm hoping to catch them on a morning when both a male and a female flower are open, so we can have more than one pumpkin. Hazel has her own little tools, and watering can, and has learned how to deadhead petunias. It's so much fun to get to teach her things I never got to teach her mom when she was little.

Quilting has been on the back burner again (still), but I did make a little progress on the room.  It's simply too small for all that needs to be in there, so for now bins of fabric are stacked in the living room.  We never use that room, and it's not bright enough to sew in there, and we really don't have living room furniture anyway. Why not use it for what I need--storage?
In separating fabrics into colors or batiks, etc. for the bins, I found probably a dozen small projects in various stages, so I've been able to pull 3 small Halloween wall hangings out and am hand quilting them. Once I get the room pulled together and the tables cleared off, it's only a matter of time til I am piecing and quilting by machine again. Yay!  This was supposed to be a benefit of retiring LAST year!

Well, enough for this entry. Hopefully I'll get back here again before too long. I have some fun Halloween news to share, but maybe that'll spur me on to start reading and blogging regularly again.

Happy August, everyone!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Resolution Byway

Do you still make resolutions? Are you the kind of person who makes them and keeps them, or do you just let them die a natural death?  I quit making resolutions long ago. Or maybe it's just I make them every day: tomorrow I'm going to learn to plan out a menu for the next week; tomorrow I'm going to haul all that stuff I don't use any more to the thrift store; tomorrow I'm going to pick up that book I started a year ago and finish it by the end of the week. Either way, I do not keep resolutions, so I don't make them.

Last year, I decided to follow someone else's lead  and pick a word for the year. I decided on "Proactive", because one of my great faults is procrastination.  I believe one of the reasons I procrastinate is a fear of making the wrong decision, so I just let things happen and deal with the consequences. Or not. I thought if I could learn to be proactive, I might just overcome this vice.

It appears this is going to take more than a year to overcome, being as it was 64 years in the making.

So I'm keeping that word again this year, and adding a new one.

2016 brought a lot of changes in our world, both locally and globally. It's the year that I thought, when I got my first paycheck and saw Social Security withholdings, was a ridiculously long time away! It has been one of those years we look back on and say, "That was the year we _____."  I don't remember what was significant about 2013, or 2006, or 1997. They were just passing time kind of years, status quo kind of years. Fillers, as it were. I guess we all need those time-spans, months or years when nothing dramatic is happening, periods of time when we can catch our breath, heal from past events, or gather strength for new ones.

On the other hand, maybe things happened that passed me by. Maybe I was oblivious to what was going on around me, in others' lives, in others' worlds.  Maybe working nights and sleeping days blinded me to opportunities. Maybe I am self-centered.

"Mindfulness" and "living intentionally" sound too trendy, too fashionable, and over-used to the point they've lost their effectiveness (at least, to me).  I don't want it to be just another fad. I want to be aware of what is important to those I care about, to be aware of opportunities to help someone else.

 So, this year's word will be Attentive.

To me, this is twofold: being observant, then being thoughtful of others. How can you be thoughtful of others, if you haven't observed what is going on with them? And what is the use of just observing, if you don't follow through?

Having a plan is key to making this work. It's easy to be all gung-ho for a few days or weeks, until you realize what an effort it can be. After all, if it was easy, there would be no change involved. My plan is to find one day a week to be attentive to someone else's needs. In Feb., I will look for 2 days a week. April I will seek 3 days. June = 4, Aug = 5, Oct = 6, Nov = 7. And it can't be just for Jack each time. I am such a homebody, I need to make myself get out there and do something.

As for being Proactive, I plan to be proactive about something once a month. It could be proactive house maintenance, meal planning, walking for my health, buying Christmas gifts before December, finding a dentist in my new town.

I will blog about whatever I have been proactive about, but the attentiveness can sound too much like bragging, so I'll just post how many times a week I was able to follow through on it.

What about you? Want to choose a word for the year, and then blog about your efforts?

PS.  This is beginning to sound like a resolution, huh?

Monday, December 19, 2016

It's a Wonderful Life

Hi, Anyone Who's Still Out There!

I did it!  I retired from nursing after 45 years!  Last shift was August 14, and check out my retirement gift to myself:

To paraphrase Shelby from Steel Magnolias, "Purple is my signature color".  It's almost all grown out now, and faded to lavender, but I still get compliments on it.  It was also the first color Hazel learned to identify. So, I'm getting it done again the end of January, if not before.

We sold the house, too. This past summer was even more of a headache than I anticipated, since we found a house in VA and submitted an offer 2 weeks before we listed our house. Not the smartest decision I ever made, but houses were moving fast in NC and VA, and I was afraid of losing out on one of the few houses that met our criteria. This new house not only ticked off all our needs, but all my wants, too. It was a nail-biter, what with having to do some additional, unexpected repairs on the old house, re-scheduling the closing date in VA, and dealing with a seller's agent who tried to sabotage closing. But we made it happen!

This year's Halloween decor was skimpy, most of it not yet unpacked, but we moved into a neighborhood where kids from all over come to trick-or-treat. Everybody decorates! (Well, except the Mennonites. There's a pretty large number of them living around here.) We had probably 150 kiddos (including my adorable granddaughter) in two hours!

Dawn  bought her first house in October, and her whole septic system had to be redone before the lenders would sign off on it. I am totally convinced that HGTV lies to us. The "problems" on their shows just don't compare to the ones in real life, do they? At any rate, we are now only 35 minutes apart. We haven't all lived in the same state since 2002! My sister-in-law, the wife of my brother who died in 2014, flew up for Thanksgiving and we all celebrated it at my daughter's house. It's the first time in decades that I have celebrated Thanksgiving on the actual date, eating traditional Thanksgiving food, and spent it with anyone who wasn't Jack. It was wonderful!

The house is a work in progress. I still have boxes to unpack, furniture that needs to be moved to yet another place in the house, a garage where Jack still cannot park, and two sewing machines that haven't seen the light of day in 4 months. There are toddler clothes and diapers in my guest bedroom dresser; a booster seat, wildly colored utensils and bibs in my kitchen; episodes of Thomas the train and Sesame Street on the DVR; Nemo and Dory slippers in the closet; shelves of toys and books in the office; and a car seat in the SUV.  But a little voice asks "Po'sy (can't get that second P in there yet), watch choo-choo Thomas?" as soon as she wakes up from sleep-overs;  "Meen-go (Mango) holp?" putting on her shoes; and squeals of "I hiding!" when I find a munchkin in the master closet.

I hope I never have to work again.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Semi-Annual Update

Hello, Blogland. I really do want to get caught up, both with my blog and yours, and I'm going to work it back into my schedule. This month. Which is less than a week left, but who's counting? Seems I don't get much accomplished besides work, some housework, PT on a painful knee, and trips to VA to see our sweet granddaughter.

Speaking of which, let me catch you up on her birth and growth:

Hazel Marilla and her mommy face to face for the very first time.
Meeting "Popsy"
Going home
"Mango" is the Baby Whisperer

Hazel and Mommy at 1 month
Easter--2 months old

Three  and 1/2 months old
Liking "tummy time" much more now
Jumparoos are fun! 
We only get to go up there every 6-8 weeks, and she changes so fast! Dawn has a tiny house, so we always have to stay in a motel, and that gets expensive after a while, even with deals. My hope is to semi-retire next summer, put the house on the market, and move to VA. I can't stand her having her grow up so far from us, and Dawn could use the help. She's a great mom, but times like a month ago when they were both sick, can be overwhelming when you're a single parent. Just gotta convince the hubs. Moving again at our age is a daunting thought, and no fun, but I really want to be a bigger part of Hazel's life.
Haven't been sewing much, just working on the drapes for Hazel's room--which are taking forever! Never try to make drapes long distance. It just doesn't work. Hope to get those finished soon so I can get back to doing what I really love--cutting up fabrics and putting them back together again!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Cycling Back Through Again

Since Facebook, I've spent most of my time keeping up with friends and family there. And after Google discontinued Blogger, it's been harder to find my favorite blogs. But I've missed reading about your lives and your activities and your quilts, so I'm going to get back to my favorites and start over again. Don't think I can catch up on the past 2 years all at once, so forgive me if I ask stupid questions in your comment sections!

Still living in NC, still working in hospice, never have enough time to get everything done--same old, same old!  Jack is good, Tandi is battling another health crisis, I've joined Weight Watchers and lost 31 lbs, and--we're going to be grandparents any day now!


 DD has never found a guy she felt she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, but her biological clock was ticking. Loudly. (She's 36). So she went to a fertility clinic and decided to become a single mom. Her due date was Jan. 23, but I told her my grandchild wanted a purple birthstone, so it looks like it will be an amethyst after all. It's going to be a girl, and probably a pretty laid back little gal, based on the easy pregnancy and said baby's reluctance to vacate the premises right now.

Since DD lives 7 hours away, we paid for a doula for her, so she wouldn't have to go through the whole process alone.

This is the baby bump Thanksgiving weekend. We got to see her a couple of weeks before Christmas, but not since then, so I've requested another belly pic. DD's doing the nursery in a woodland theme:

Everything is all set up and ready now, except for the curtains, which Grandma has been trying to make. However, my machine is mal-functioning right now, and I can't figure out why.  It's a Bernina 1130S, and this is what it's doing:

I changed out the needle, and it did fine for about 45 minutes, but has started balling up and wrapping around the bobbin again. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong? I've checked to make sure it's threaded correctly, and it is. The fabric is $17.00/yd, the most expensive fabric I've ever sewn, and this is making me nervous. As the rate this is going, granddaughter will be entering kindergarten before I get her curtains finished. (that's scrap fabric above).

Any ideas will be appreciated!