Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Buy Nothing

Sorry it's been so long since I wrote a post--where does the time go? I can't believe it's only a week til Christmas Eve! I'll catch up with stuff later, but today I wanted to elaborate on something I mentioned last time--my Buy Nothing group.

Have you heard of the Buy Nothing Project? This is something that was started by two friends back in 2013, after one of them made a trip to a village where everything was shared, including the animals, gardens, etc. When one family was finished with something, it was shared with someone else, and if someone had a need, others would fill it. Sounds a little Utopian, doesn't it? Well that sparked an idea that Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller carried out in Bainbridge, WA in 2013, and is now in over 30 countries around the world.

Here's how it works. These are FaceBook groups that are formed in communities, to keep it local, and the Mission is this:

 "We offer people a way to give and receive, share, lend, and express gratitude through a worldwide network of hyper-local gift economies in which the true wealth is the web of connections formed between people who are real-life neighbors."

 Basically, you ask for what you need, and you give from your own abundance.Everyone has something to offer, because gifts are not only objects, but can be gifts of time, talent, or self. Some of the things being gifted or requested right now on my group's site are coats, dog toys, baby formula, Christmas decorations, a sofa, art supplies, cute coffee mugs for an after-school program, bookcase, heated vest for a flagger, VHS tapes, puzzles, a floor lamp, a go-cart that needs work, baby dolls, jewelry, space heater, rice cooker, and the list goes on. One of our members has a list of 30 families who are in need of things for Christmas, and she has been gathering gifts since October. We have donated clothing, laundry detergent, toys, bath products, towels and washcloths and a bazillion other things that she has already been wrapping and delivering.

But we are not charity groups. We are like ultimate recyclers, keeping things out of the landfill, squeezing every bit of usefulness out of of ordinary objects. Someone decided to clear out their nail polishes, and a couple of pre-teen daughters were delighted to have them. I don't drink coffee and am vegan, so I asked for coffee grounds and eggshells for my composter--and got more than I expected! And in the process, we meet each other, get to know each other, and care for each other. We have carried meals to those who have had surgery, we have shared plants from our gardens to help landscape a new home, and we have celebrated the birth of many babies. 

Want to learn more? Go to 
https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/, and check for your country or town. Can't find one? Then think about starting one!  That's what I did. About a year after moving here, my daughter told me about the group she'd joined and told me I should join my local group--except there wasn't one. She declared I should just start one and so I did! We will be 2 years old tomorrow, and we have almost 900 members now! 
I hope you'll join a group, or start your own. The perks are amazing!

Sunday, November 24, 2019


My corneal infection has healed, thank goodness. Now I'm just left with the scarring. Ironic that this whole thing started in order to smooth out the surface of my eye in preparation for cataract surgery--and now it's more irregular than ever. I think my vision is marginally better. but still have to close that eye when reading, or tape it shut while driving, in order not to squint so much with the left eye, because that just diminishes my overall vision even more. Plus the light gets really distorted. I'll be on Prednisone drops 4 times a day for the next month in hopes of reducing the scarring. After the first infection, I was on them closer to 3 months, so I'm anticipating on being on the drops another month after that.

To try and satisfy my creative itch, I spent several hours this past week trying to clean up and organize the sewing?craft room. I had managed to clear out some bins, and had room to group more like items together. There were things I have no idea why I'd bought, so I got rid of a few items through my Buy Nothing group. This went to a guy who said his wife sews and always needs him to help with snaps and things and he was delighted to get it.
No photo description available.
I'm sure I bought it for some project, but whatever it was is long gone from my head. I must have had this thing 4-5 years and never opened it. Does anyone else do this? Buy things for a project in mind, then never get to it and forget what it was?

Or, do you hate to let go of things because you just might need them some day? Or you plan to do this great idea you saw on Pinterest, but the months go by and you just don't get to it?

I have a bunch of beads and jewelry supplies, some of which I've had for years.


I had thoughts of taking apart some old necklaces I haven't worn for decades, and using the pendants to make a charm necklace of sorts. I have the tools to make those stamped metal pieces and some charms to dangle, as well as wire cutters, and pliers, and findings, and old beloved watch faces--and I don't know how or where to start.

 But you know as soon as you get rid of something, you'll get an idea, or find a use for them. Isn't that always the way it is? So that part of the organizing was no more than just fumbling through the drawers, pulling out one item to give away, and shutting the drawers again.

My daughter will be swearing at my tombstone some day.

In the "making progress" department, I went to Michael's and bought some yarn. It was buy one, get one at 50% off--how could I not? And a few crocheting books. And another set of hooks because I hadn't tackled the sewing room yet, where I later found a complete set of hooks I didn't remember I had. (I am turning into my father, God rest his soul!) I began working on a hooded scarf for myself while binge-watching "Once Upon a Time". So many shows I never saw, because I worked nights and couldn't record them all, are showing up on Netflix. Hallelujah!

After I finish this, or after Thanksgiving, whichever comes first (because daughter and granddaughter are coming to our house this year and I don't want them to see), I will start on a sampler afghan for Hazel to snuggle up under while watching TV. At Michael's I bought a chest with Frozen 2 pictures on it, and chose yarn in those colors. I plan to put the afghan and some other little Frozen 2 items in it for Christmas. My hands are not as sore as they were the first few nights, so maybe it'll go a little faster than the scarf has. (The book said the scarves were quick projects to do in a weekend. Ha! (Guess that didn't include ripping the stitches out 3 times, then choosing another pattern.) Aren't the colors just scrumptious? Can't wait to get to it!

But in less than an hour, the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead will be coming on, and I need to be sitting there, yarn and hook in hand. Can't miss it!

I hope you all have a wonderful week, especially those celebrating Thanksgiving, and may you enjoy this time with family and friends!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Eyes Have Had It!

Wow, it got cold this week!  Most of the leaves are down after the big Halloween storm, but there are a few holdouts in the neighborhood. My daughter says one of her front yard trees has dropped lovely yellow leaves, while the sugar maple has dropped reddish-orange ones. She said they are just too pretty to chop up right now, so will wait til next weekend to do her last mowing/mulchng. My yard is mostly tree-less--a small maple in the front yard, a small oak in the side, and a young dogwood in the back. And a redbud in a pot right now til I decide where I can put it.

When the developer built this neighborhood, which was a really wooded area, they hauled of tons of topsoil--and then brought back only a few truckloads per yard. So I have about 3 inches of topsoil before hitting clay and rock. What a waste. The couple who lived here before us had grown too old and frail to do much, although it's evident she had done a lot when they first moved in. There were a lot of overgrown bushes, and flowerbeds that had tons of weeds growing on top of the landscape fabric. It's evident she liked purple, though--and that's my favorite color, so I'm not complaining!

I have added a few of my own, also in purple, but keeping up with so many  beds is no easy task. I hate to be like a millennial and take it all out, but the thought has occurred to me. We'll just wait and see what the new year brings.

Just when I was beginning to see a little more clearly, and had gotten some inexpensive bifocal readers to use for reading and hopefully sewing, I woke up Wed. with the same symptoms I had last summer-- swollen eyeball, tenderness to the touch, that feeling when you have something in your eye,  hypersensitivity to light, and very blurred vision, like trying to see through vaseline on a window.  Not good. I phoned my eye doctor, but they couldn't work me in til Thurs., so I agreed to see a partner at another office. It was either that, or take myself to the ER at UVA in hopes of seeing my residents from the summer.

The eye, my right eye, is infected again, and we have no idea why. It is on its way to another corneal ulcer. He had me start back on one of the fortified antibiotic eye drops I had from UVA, and got me in to see my regular ophthalmologist on Thurs. She discontinued those drops, started me on 2 others and an ointment, and I saw her again on Fri.  There was a little healing, but also a new abrasion showed up that day, though my comfort level was much better. Apparently I am some sort of self--infector, (wonder if there is a Halloween costume for that?) though why this has started now is a mystery. If they publish an article on me, I want part of the proceeds!   I see one of her partners tomorrow and then she's back in town on Tuesday, and I have strict instructions to call the on-call doc for any worsening symptoms.

So, no sewing yet. I can't see the third line on the eye chart, and I was reading the 5th line two weeks ago. This is driving me nuts. I've decided to finish packing away all the Halloween props in the shed (don't judge, I was doing that when it all went south!), do some heavy-duty house cleaning, and then I'm going to dig around in my sewing room for something else to do with my hands. Maybe I should take up crocheting again. I'd have to buy more yarn, but I still have my needles. I should probably start working on Christmas cards, even though my handwriting is likely to be shaky.

Or, I know I have some Christmassy crafts to paint, and there were some ornaments made with 2 1/2" strips of Christmas fabric and styrofoam balls I had started probably 10 years ago. Found them!
Maybe I'll finish these and make some more. Lord knows I have a ton of Christmas fabric I'd love to use up, I've had some of it so long, I'm tired of it, but this would be fun to work on. I need some more straight pins, and some beads, and more ribbon.... This could get a little pricey! lol! But hey, cheaper than therapy!

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Grieving Dog Update and more

Just wanted to let you all know what happened, in case you ever run into this same situation.

Here's what my friend posted on FaceBook:

"Bear update- a friend saw
On tv (I think that’s where it came from) that it helps one dog grieve for another if they witness the burial. That wasn’t an option for us but we did have _____'s collar and it had stayed on him until just before we left the vet office that morning. From all these crime shows I watch I know dogs can pick up the smell of death so easily and I thought at the least maybe some illness pheromones? We had to try something because Bear decided to stop eating yesterday morning....
So we get ____’s collar and go outside and let Bear sniff it. His whole body started shaking like you wouldn’t believe! He was barking a weird kind of bark and just shaking like a leaf and I was scared maybe this was a bad idea! But we went over to the hole we’d made and put _____’s collar in a bag, put it in the hole and covered it up. We sat there a couple minutes and said _____’s name and he kinda circled and barked then we went to the shed steps and just loved on him a while. He went to gate wanting to go to the front yard so I took him out there and he only stayed a few minutes, no crying/whining, and then walked himself right back to the backyard. That was it. He hasn’t whined since and he’s eaten his food! Did he somehow understand the ‘burial’ or did he smell something on the collar? Don’t know- I wouldn’t say he’s a happy, happy dog but I don’t think he’s in distress anymore."....

That's amazing, isn't it? I never would have thought of doing that! And Patty, I couldn't find a way to answer your comment, but I'm glad your story had a happy ending, too.

If you've read my blog in the past, you know I'm a Halloween freak. I LOVE the holiday and I love doing different things in my yard every year. Well this Halloween turned out to be a humdinger.  Not only were we expecing thunderstorms, but they included a tornado watch and predicted wind gusts up to 50 mph from 4-9 pm--right smack dab in the middle of Trick or Treating time. So Thursday I took everything down.  It had already started a steady sprinkling, on top of some rain we had earlier in the week.  As I was taking a handful of rebar to the shed, I stepped onto the greenish slippery ramp--and down I went. My foot slid right back down to the ground, and I bounced my face off the handful of rebar.
Bam!  First black eye I've ever had! It did shake me up a little. I had to sit there in the wet grass for a bit before I could get up. I was feeling every bit of my 68 years for the first time ever. Jack got me a couple of extra-strength Tylenol, and I put an ice pack on it for as long as I could stand it. Even the breeze blowing on my face hurt.  By morning, my eye was swollen shut. But everything got put right back out on Friday, which was a gloriously sunny, chilly day. Temps had gone from 70s on Thurs. to 50s on Fri.

Because the high school football game was Friday night, and they are undefeated, our little town decided to have Trick or Treat on Sat.  By Sat. evening it was cold and breezy. The kids were out early, by 5:30, so I had no time to get pictures. All I have is one from Wed. night, when I was checking my lighting:

Most of our visitors were in a hurry to get back home out of the cold--or to move on for more candy!--but I got great feedback from the adults, and some of the kids, too. One little girl even complimented me on my "make-up".  lol

This is how my eye looked yesterday. Great makeup, right?  lol  My face was too sore to put a mask on, so I just wore regular clothes.

Now I get to take it all down again! Every year about this time, I swear I'm done. I'm not going to do a yard haunt any more. And every year, by August (if not sooner) I'm planning what I'm going to do. I've actually started planning my costume for next year.....

Happy November!

Friday, October 25, 2019


Today has been a tough one for me.

Remember my dog, Tandi?

Well, we had to put Tandi down in April, a month before her 15th birthday. Six months ago today, actually.  She was almost 3 years old when we got her from the cocker rescue group, but it felt like she'd been with us forever. She was my heart and soul dog, the one who will always live on with me, the one I miss every day. The last year, we had her at the vet so often with one thing after another, I called her my little Energizer bunny, because she kept going, and going, and going.... Finally it was clear that her quality of life had decreased significantly, and the kindest thing was to give her some relief. It was the hardest decision I've ever made, and the only dog I've actually had to make that decision for. I've had them go missing, get stolen, get hit by a car and die in my arms, die when no one was around, but never have I had to make the decision to put one down. It sucks. 

A friend of mine had to put one of her dogs down this week. She and her husband had rescued two dogs from a neglectful situation about a year ago, and had given them the lives they deserved. The dogs were so happy not to be chained up any more, to have free run of the fenced in yard, to have a large doghouse that was cool in the summer and heated in the winter, to have decent food to eat, toys (they'd never had toys--didn't know quite what to do with them at first!), and so much love and attention. Then one developed cancer about a month ago, took a sudden turn for the worse this week and there were no other options. The remaining dog is grieving, making such a mournful sound, it breaks all our hearts. I've never had two dogs at a time, so I don't know how to help my friend. It has brought me to tears more than once today.

But, there is a happy side to today's story. Meet Ziva, our newest rescue:

Someone dropped this sweet, 6-yr-old cockapoo off at a high-kill shelter in another part of VA, and the adoption agency in a nearby town scooped her up. She was already spayed, completely housebroken, knew a few commands, and will flop over and present her tummy for rubbing if you even look her way. She's funny, smart, quirky, and has blessed us so much in the 5 months we've had her. She makes me laugh every day, and although Jack initially wanted another cocker spaniel, I'm really grateful she isn't full-blooded. I think that would have been unfair to a new dog. The vet's office was so excited to meet her, and we all marvel that she has Tandi's coloring; it's like she was meant for us. Maybe Tandi picked her out and sent her our way. I like to think that, anyway. It makes today a little easier.