Thursday, November 02, 2017

Halloween 2017

Well, here they are, the pictures from this year!  I put out a lot more this year, since I was able to get into the shed and go through the boxes and bins. It was almost like Christmas, rediscovering some of the things I had.  The wind tried to play havoc with my tombstones and props, but I figured out how to work with the wind instead of against it, and it wasn't too shabby. Got lots of compliments from kids and adults alike, so that made it worth while.

First, a picture of Hazel. She's 2 1/2, and her mom made her a Witch Hazel costume. She figures it's the last time she'll get to choose Hazel's costume, since next year Hazel will be almost 4, and she's already a very decisive little girl.
She's usually restricted to a pacifier at bedtime only, but the poor tyke had just come down from a 101.8 fever, and wasn't feeling well, but wanted to come see Popsy and Mango, so a little comfort measure was in order.  She did go trick or treating in my neighborhood, and she finally made the connection. "Popsy!" she said when she got back. "I said 'trick or treat' and people gave me CANDY!"  First candy she's ever had.  She said she wanted to go again the next night, but when she encountered 2 dinosaurs, that was it. I don't know what it was about the dinosaurs costumes, but Hazel screamed in absolute terror and had to be taken inside.

Here are some pics of the night:

Started the thankless job of taking it all down and packing it away. But it was fun, and the kids seemed to like it, and I'm already toying with a theme for next year....

October 2017

October 2017

I had the great fortune to be a live actor in a haunted mill this season. It started with one of those 'suggested pages' by FB, with a request for volunteers to work at Madame Redrum's Nine Gates of Doom. I responded, met up with Madame, toured the building and would have paid to be a part of this. The building is an old mill that burned down in 1863 and was rebuilt on the same foundation, so who knows exactly how old it is? It's 4 stories high with all the old machinery, and is absolutely fascinating even when not gussied up for Halloween.

I had a blast working with a bunch of other volunteers, and soon found my niche in the scaring. I really loved making the macho guys jump! These were some of my early looks, but my greatest success was a totally black grim reaper's outfit, with a black faceless mask, emerging from a dark corner.

We did this every Fri. and Sat. night for 5 weeks, and I made every one of the 10 nights. Although it was tiring, it was also exhilarating, and this coming weekend will be my first free weekend in a while. I think it'll feel strange. Already looking forward to next year and wondering just who I'll be.

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.