Thursday, November 1, 2012

November 1, 2012

To any who have been concerned, we are safe and fine.  Thank you for your prayers over the past weekend while Sandy ravaged our area.  We are very lucky; we did not lose power during this storm.  We had spent Friday and Saturday stocking up the wood, propane, food and other things necessary for when the power goes out.  The rain started about 1 PM on Sunday, ahead of forecast, and the winds were bad.  The winds continued to get stronger, and we were so glad we'd moved all the "moveable" stuff from the deck.  It continued to rain all of Monday and most of Tuesday.  The government shut down so Lou was home and my work follows the government so I was home, too.  The winds were around 70+ mph.  On Monday morning the rain gauge on the deck was full at 6 inches, but as it kept raining we really don't know how much came down.  Fortunately, Lou had had a "feeling" a few weeks ago and arranged for tree limbs overhanging our drive and power lines to be trimmed as the absentee landlord has done very little tree maintenance in all the years we've lived here.  We are very fortunate and know it.  Friends in New York City have not fared as well, many are still without power and not able to get places because the subway system remains partially closed.

In a different note, Saturday was a special day for me as I reached a milestone in my journey of weight loss for health improvement.  I have lost a total of 25 pounds in 11 months.  I would like to lose another 15, but am happy with where I am now and how I feel.  Not too shabby when I realized it's weight that has crept on over the 14 years we have lived here.  Previously I have lost weight at a much faster rate, but it has come back every time I "relax" my mindful eating.  This time, I'm changing my eating habits and have maintained a steady loss with very few ups and downs.  So, on to making it through the holidays!

A big thank you to all who said a prayer for my friend in LA who was recently hospitalized.  I'm pleased to let you know she's out!  Hopefully, the new meds will keep things under control and there won't be any more hospital trips.

So, I can blame it on Lou....  we needed to get him a covered wastebasket for his "office" as George was getting into the garbage can and throwing the stuff around.  So Sarah and I went to B3 today, and little did we know we walked right past the trash cans and into the store.  By the time we finally made our way back to the trash cans, we'd scored some really cool stuff: new sheets for Sarah's bed, lots of Chanukah stuff and hair and skin supplies cheaper than CVS.  Best part-using our coupons.  The cashier said to give her any $5 ones I had, and she clicked away while the total went down.  Grand total discount: (drum roll, cymbals, any noise maker) $45 off the total purchase.  Yet, neat stuff and a huge discount, my kind of shopping!

Time to tak George on his post wet food walk.  Have a wonderful evening, all.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Life in Md

I feel  like I have been avoiding my blog for a long time.  Actually, I have been avoiding everyones' blogs for a long time.  I have not been at the computer to go blogging in ages.  Part of it is George.  For a little guy, he's pretty demanding-which is our fault anyway.  When we got him, the backyard fencing was not Yorkie proofed; there were areas he could get out under the fencing.  It took us a while to get to Home Depot  to get deterrent materials, and in that time he because accustomed to lots of walks.  So, now rather than open the side door and let him out, I have to take him on walks.  It's okay but it really can disrupt my computer time.

I also feel like I haven't had much to share as I have been feeling like I go to work, come home, deal with George, or to bed, get up and start over again.  But that's not really true, I have a lot to share!

Lilli came in for a while after her field trip in Canada and we made the progress we needed to on the wedding.  We have a date, we have a place, and we have a party!  All else will work itself out now.  The date setting has been a major item and now it's clear:  Jack and Lilli ARE getting married, it's going to happen in 2013, and we're going to have a blast.  Of course, we have already touched on Family Fun Day aspects:  the minor theme running through this is Dr. Who, and some of the family will definitely have a problem with that.  Oh well..... I guess they don't have to come if they don't want to, right?  The "save the date" cards are at the proof stage, and will be printed and mailed out shortly.  At present, the list is 30 or so over what the party venue will seat, but that includes people we know won't be able to come.

I hit a landmark at WW this week reaching a 25 pound weight loss.  It feels good, my blood pressure is normal and continues to be, and I'm hoping that a few more pounds can find someone else's hips to adorn.  I'm sure all the walking of George has helped, but I like to think it's because I've made some new habits of healthier eating.

So, in a nutshell not much else is happening.  We're all set in case the "Frankenstorm" hits (well, when the storm hits) with wood, food, batteries, and everything else we need when the power goes out.  the Powers That Be are also taking this pretty seriously, schools have already been cancelled, trains up the northeast corridor and planes have been cancelled.  Sandy promises to be major-if it is, I won't be back on for a while.

Please send a prayer off to my friend Beebee who is having some problems with platelets at the moment and is hospitalized.  She needs to get back to her family, and any prayers can help!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Where have I been?

I'm not sure why, but I have been going through a period of avoiding my computer.  (Maybe because Sarah was using it?) So, I decided today to write a little bit about the last few weeks.

George is doing really well!  We have had two little accidents and two marking instances-not bad for three weeks.  The vet thinks the marking will stop once he is neutered, and that will happen in the next month.  His coat is starting to shine a bit from the wet food, and he's listening much better.  He's a lot of fun to have around and I'm definitely walking more since he's come into our lives.

Progress continues on the blue room.  Today I organized space in the yellow room for blue room transfers; then emptied the bookcase of my craft books.  Tomorrow I'll pack up the stuff on the top of the bookcase and then move the bookcase out.  It's a very cool bookcase that used to be in my uncle's medical office-two little drawers at the bottom, and double glass doors on the front.  It stands about five feet high, and it's probably older than I am.  Lou spent time going through the VHS tapes deciding what needed donating, what was garbage and what we would keep.  We took about an hour and a half and made good progress.  I still think we can meet my goal of finishing the room by the end of September, but I may be optimistic....

Work goes well and I will be assuming some interim duties while interviews for a new senior accountant are conducted.  It should be fun, it's always nice to learn new things whether at work or at play.

Sarah got me involved in this daily diary site online, I was really good for about a week, and then realized that I'm basically writing the same, really boring things day after day.... I think I'm probably unsubscribe pretty soon.

Oh-George is here to play, so I've got to go.

Friday, August 3, 2012

To the rescue

I guess there are just times "you can't say no".  Though we have been talking about greyhound rescue for a while now in terms of getting a dog back into our lives and home, we really had decided to wait a while we got the house in some order.  

Well, that idea flew out the window this week.  A friend at work heard of a yorkie puppy that was in a bad situation-mainly he was being fed and brushed occasionally, but not played with or really groomed.  So she asked if we would be willing to take him.  I really hadn't wanted a dog that little, but once I saw his picture, I knew we had to save him.  I mean, look at this cutie pie, even when you consider that he's been shaved in the recent past, and the hair that has grown back in was matted in numerous places.  So, today my friend picked him up and I met her to get him.  Part of the sadness is that the two adults in his short life (8 months) have always called him by two different names:  Taco and Dutch.  Being English, we decided "George" was a good name for him.  So, we are in the process of getting him to realize his new name.

He's had a bath, and I cut the worst matted hair off.  Tomorrow morning we'll go to the vet for a well-puppy check up.  Tonight, Sarah is going out with her friend Sara to buy the essentials for tonight:  a harness, new leash and bed.  He already knows "sit" and will go to the door when he wants to go out.  He has Sarah wrapped around his little paw already.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Moving Right Along

Every time I think I'm going to be writing daily I get screwed up.  Things are well here in the mid-Atlantic if you enjoy high temps, humidity, and nasty tempers, which I don't.  Today should be called Testy Tuesday.  It started after I dropped Lou at Metro and some "person" started honking at me because I was letting the people cross the street-a law around here when they are in the crosswalk-while they had the walking figure.  Then a few blocks later, someone cut me off so he could get to the red light one car sooner than I did.  After I dropped Sarah by the gym, I drove to work and some jerk honked while I was backing into my parking space.  What is wrong with people?  If that guy was that late for work, he should have just parked on an upper level of the garage and gone to his office.

After work I dropped off the vacuum cleaner which is working fine except for the roller not rolling.  It's really hard to pick up dirt and crap when the roller doesn't roll.....

Thursday my eye surgery is scheduled and I'm really looking forward to having two eyes that see again.  Sunday I made manicotti, and filling the shells without depth perception was a real challenge, and not one I want again!

The kids are good, KS going to NYC next week and Lill is breezing in after a meeting in Boston for a long weekend.  Sometimes I think about these girls and wonder how I produced such wonderful human beings-but I know how it happened:  Lou and I decided that they were the priority once they came along, and we did everything we could to make sure they knew it.

The blue room is ALMOST empty, and we should be picking out paint this coming weekend.  So far, so good on my goal to be finished with it by September.  Life is good!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hot! Hot! Hot!

We've been experiencing some really hot weather this summer, even for the DC area.  Yesterday it was 101, and today is predicted to be in the high 90s but the heat index will make it feel like 105 or so.  Reminds me a lot of CA, but we don't have a pool in the backyard to jump into here.  Instead, I will work in the cool of the downstairs and hope that nothing comes up to make me go outside!

I have made major progress clearing the blue room and the first bulk trash haul-away is scheduled for today.  the email confirmation I got does not exactly list what I told the guy we had, so it will be interesting to see if it goes or stays on the lawn.

The question has been raised about putting in a laminate floor as opposed to tiling the floor.  I sometimes wish the kids didn't have such good reasons for their opinions because now, in good conscience, I need to read about tiling before I make my final decision.

The corrective surgery is scheduled for next Thursday on my left eye so as of Friday, G-d willing, I will have two eyes to use and depth perception should return!  That will be wonderful.

If you're going to have heat today, please remember to stay hydrated.  If you're going to have rain or normal weather, send some of it to the mid-Atlantic!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

just do it

Today I realized that I need to take  my own advice and just get on with things!  I have been trying to organize the basement and decided that I'm devoting too much time to trying to clean, etc and forgetting that I need "down" time, too.

Today I am going to work at organizing two bins, then figure out a mending project that has been back-burnered for  months.  Once I get that done and into the mail, I need to organize some sewing projects that have been frozen-they're too old to be back-burnered!  It may drive DD2 crazy, but I may have to start sewing at the dining room table since I will need to clear my sewing corner away to rip up carpeting.

So, I'm off to bin-ing, be back later to let you know how I did!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday, Sunday

I'm actually feeling like something got accomplished today!  Sarah and I ran some errands and got everything done in under two hours.  Once we got home, I started laundry and work on the yellow room as we need sleeping space in there next weekend.  

To clear off one of the beds, I had to go through a whole pile of things that came to us from Lou's mom's house.  It's the first time I've looked at some of it since it came 3 years ago.  Aside from the pictures and candlesticks, there was a collections of Valentine Day cards Lou has sent her over the years-almost all handmade, including the one from college (I think) that was an anatomically correct heart on the front--geez, what my mother-in-law put up with!  I shed a few happy tears.

I did get that part completely ready, the bedding is in the washer to freshen up, and Lou cleaned the whole bathroom-which I was dreading because we haven't used it in a long time.  We used to watch TV downstairs only, but after his stroke and the amputation, it was just easier to watch up here and the blue room etc kind of fell to the wayside in terms of upkeep.  Of course, dealing with the yellow room means I didn't get any work done on the blue room, but I'm still setting September as the deadline for finishing its makeover.....

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fall-apart Day?

Did you ever feel like you  need a fall-apart day?  That's what I'm feeling right now.  I cannot motivate to pay bills, gather laundry, clean house or anything.  The last few weeks have been so full that I need a day to sit with my feet up and a book.  I did make two important calls, and I did keep my morning appointment, but other than that I have done NOTHING.  I have mentally organized tomorrow, so I don't feel guilty at all about sitting and doing not-so-productive things.

My friend Beebee has taken up the organization of a new round of the Bee Balm online quilting bee.  I'm jazzed, ready to sew and get some cool blocks made.  We'll be getting the info soon and it'll start in the new year.  It's really nice to have this to look forward to.

Work progresses in the basement.  My goal is to have the blue room finished by September.  I hope to move the furniture out under the deck this weekend.  Then it should only take a few hours to rip up the rest of the carpeting.  We have to choose new lighting fixtures, and then paint.  Lou is leaning toward white or some off-white variety, but I'm so used to calling it the blue room I think it needs to stay blue.  It may possibly need to be a softer blue, or an accent wall blue, I'm not sure yet.  I would love to build in some storage, but that's really not an option right now.  It just needs to get finished!  I made major progress last Sunday working on the sewing storage in the laundry room-I've got 2 bins of fabric organized and two bags of notions to sort through.  I did decide to bag and donate a lot of the yarn I had down there.  As Lilli pointed out, every time I start a new project I buy yarn anyway, so why keep all of it?  So far, I have one huge bag of yarn set for donation, but I still have 3 or 4 bins to go through and may find more.

I'm glad to be home after the passing of my father-in-law's wife.  Even though it's tough for him, it's a blessing that she is now at peace.  Altzheimer's is truly a decimating disease, not only to the patient but to the family trying to cope.

I'm hoping the weatherman is right and we get a nice cooling off this evening, but I'm not holding my breath.  It's hot, it's humid, and I'm glad I'm inside with the fans going!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Rose colored glasses

As my friend Robin says, I tend to look at the world through rose colored glasses.  I must have had them on when I thought I'd be able to sew one-eyed, what a joke on me!  I can't really judge depth without two eyes.  So, all my hopes of sewing are shelved until after surgery on July 5th.  Yes, I was referred to a retina specialist as he operates behind the lens and that's what is needed to get this bit of fluff out of my eye.  Actually, the visit was pretty cool because of all the stuff they have there-who knew you could do sonograms of the eyeball with a little wand the size of a permanent marker?

So, with my sewing back-burnered for a month or so, I will concentrate on "binning" everything I keep turning up around the house.  I had to go back to Target and buy a half dozen more bins to hold fabric, yarn, books, linens and all sorts of things I'm finding.  At least the nice clear plastic ones will make it easyto find things!

I am doing well with Weight Watchers, too  I think this time I've finally decided to do it for myself, not some event in the future or because someone else thinks I should.  I've met my first goal, 10% of my starting weight, and now I will will set another short term goal.  I'm feeling so much better because I'm eating so much better!

I continue to read blogs that keep me excited about sewing and quilting.  There is so much out there I don't know and yet I want to really jump in and start something BIG.  I know I should start with something small, and I hopefully will, but BIG sounds like so much more fun.  Beebee is hoping to start another round of the online quilting bee this fall, and I'm hoping to be a part of it.  Last year was kind of a mess because of all the eldercare stuff we were dealing with.  It continues to be draining emotionally, but we are trying to be as supportive as we can.

Well, I'm off to drool over patterns I cannot sew at the moment, and fabric I cannot cut at the moment......

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Back to Basics

It's been a while since I posted because I've been so upset dealing with my eye.  My first cataract surgery (yes, old eyes surgery) went without a problem.  I'm seeing almost 20/20 out of my right eye.  The left....let's just say things always have a way to surprise.  The short story is that even having to put two lens in as the first didn't "seat", a small piece hid behind the iris of my eye and is now a fluffy bit of debris located behind the lens.  I feel like I'm looking through a translucent bathroom window at shapes.  I will need another surgery.

Ah, but why stress, right?  Well, two weeks from yesterday I will be standing on the beach enjoying the ocean.  Florida, here we come!  One week over two weekends will feel like heaven on earth!

But this post is really about all the things I've been finding as we reorganize the storage in this house.  I have found skeins of yarn, bags of stuffing, and I can't even calculate the amount of fabric that has been hiding in the most unusual places!  So, back to basics:  I will be spending a few days organizing color families and deciding what to sew now that I have figured out how to do it one-eyed.  I have my Lillies miniquilt to finish up for V, hers is gorgeous (of course) and I want to take it in to work to have in my cube.

I would like to try some of the bag patterns in some of the books I've bought over the last year, and I'd like to read with understanding the book on fitting I have.  I need to be able to adjust patterns so I can sew for Lilli and Sarah without their physical bodies being here. I have some beautiful lengths of suiting fabric and washable suede for blazers for them, but I don't want to cut into it until I know the garments will fit.  

I'm hoping to make some very cute pin cushions with scrapes that haven't gone into made fabric, and I have a sewing room accessory set due to a swapper who has patiently waited for me to finish it.

It will be nice to get back to basics and see some of my stash go down and my WIPs get finished!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Oh, my, how it's changed

Blogger has changed.  I'm not sure I'm ready to deal with this-all the reading to find out how things are now, so it will be interesting to see if this posts correctly.

It's been an interesting few months around here dealing with old people problems.  Both Lou and I are in the cycle of cataract surgery.  My first eye went really well and easy, the second is a bit trickier.  Due to some difference in my eyeball, the doctor had to take out the first lens she put in and replace it with a second one.  This caused a lot of swelling of the cornea.  Looking through it is like looking through someone's bathroom window covered in translucent contact paper.... a beautiful haze.  It's made driving a real experience this last week.  I can now recognize letters through the haze, so I know it's healing.  I just wish it was done already!

Lou wasn't that lucky.  The surgery went well, but his drop schedule got interrupted by a two night stay in ICU, and swelling resulted so he's still trying to get normal before the second eye is done.  He's got some rare condition where he bleeds into his stomach which then causes a drop in blood pressure and oxygen in his system because of the blood volume loss.  Obviously, we are now starting a new count of "months we do not go to Emergency or end up in the hospital" having broken the 2 months we had going.

The sad news is that we did not go to Paris for our 30th anniversary last year.  We went to the west coast for our nephew's bar mitzvah.  The good news is that we are going to the beach for our 31st anniversary!  Lou was lamenting he wanted a week at the beach, so I called our favorite place to stay in Cocoa Beach and checked availability.  I emailed him at work and asked him to request a certain week of time off.  When he emailed it had been approved, I called the Wakulla ( and made a reservation, made plane reservations and reserved a car.  Pretty soon we'll be out looking for turtles at night!

Another good news piece is that I have now "graduated" to 6 month visits to the oncologist!  This month marks 3 years cancer free!  I continue to be "Plus 1", one more of the millions of people who have successfully won the battle against cancer.  Do yourself a favor, keep your screenings up to date.  It's a whole lot easier than going through the surgery and rehab!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Weekend Update

Like Lake Woebegone, this has been a quiet weekend. Sarah was off to Houston for a wedding, and Lou and I did the usual errands and shopping run. The major accomplishment was organizing the material for the Tax Man, in hopes that this year maybe Uncle Sam will send us back some.

I'm trying to catch up on my blog reading, and once again I'm renewed by the exciting things going out in Blogland. People are talking of spring, fabric, new books, fabric, fun recipes, fabric.....can you see a pattern here? Some people itch to get out and get dirt under their fingernails, I itch to get thread snippets all over the floor. I have so many things on my to-do list that really must get done, but I really just want to go downstairs and make coasters or aprons or afikomen bags.

What's a person to do? I hate being a responsible adult, but I guess I will put off the stitching urge until Thursday or Friday when I'm off, and spend the next few evenings doing what I "must" do.....

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Feelin' old

There are just some days I feel really OLD. Today is one of them; my knee is acting up again and nothing is helping-the brace, icing, drugs, staying off it-nothing. I'm being a witch to everyone in the house and that's not me, well, not usually me.....

Before I had to retire to the bed to keep my knee on a pillow, I did get a few packages taped up for mailing. I hate to say I still have holiday presents that haven't been sent. Yesterday I was better, I finished a reversible apron to donate to a fundraiser for one of the local elementary schools. Shocked the hell out of me when the mom who recruited my donation told me that the event has an entrance fee-$75.00. I don't think I'd be going to something like a silent auction if I had to shell out that kind of money just to get in, but things are tight for schools now.

We continue to have bizarre weather. Though the sun shone most of the day, it was chilly and we had really strong winds. But, the hellebores, crocuses and daffodils are all blooming. This is February-daffs shouldn't be open let alone up! However, the other sure sign of spring around here is the return of the grackles to the feeding rail of the deck. They've been around for three days now, so I suppose I should accept that spring has come to Maryland.

Of course, it hasn't come to Cleveland...... we listen online to a '40s station from Cleveland and listening to the weather updates really makes me glad we're not living there now. It's been in the mid-20s, and the station just announced more snow tonight with the lake effect to deal with; meaning they say an inch will fall, but with the lake effect it could be more-a lot more.

So, wherever you are, please know that spring is on the way to your neck of the woods, too!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Challenge

So I was wandering through some blogs as I have been out of blogland for a while and wanted to see what folks were up to. Notice the new button on my blog? (It's from Quilt Dad-credit given where due....) It should link you to a great idea: A basics charity challenge. In the words of the hostess, Cara Quilts, please read,

So what is a basic?

In our daily lives we have a lot of things we think of as basics.
This morning you brushed your teeth with a toothbrush and tooth paste.
You used toilet paper.
Had soap to wash your hands.
Put on some deodorant.
Ran a brush through your hair.
Maybe took a shower with shampoo, conditioner, body wash and a razor.
Put some make-up on.
You were able to put on clean underwear and socks, that no one else has ever worn.
In the kitchen did you grab some paper towels to clean up a little spill?
At some point during the day you probably grabbed a coffee or tea.
Used some tissue to blow your nose. Maybe sanitized your hands after.
I could go on but you probably have the point by now. We have a LOT of things that we consider basics.
In each of our communities there are places that people don’t have the very basic things we all take for granted. Shelters- for abused women/children, homeless, men’s missions, - exist in virtually every community. They are a necessary safety net for people in our communities who for an array of reasons need help. But these shelters are almost always in need of the basic items. Many of the people have had to leave everything behind, or don’t have anything to begin with.

Please go over to her blog,, and read more information and how to sign up for prizes she will be offering. The idea is to collect a bunch of basics, take a photo to enter for prizes, and then drop off your basics at your local shelter. The biggest prize is the feeling you will have after you have donated. Tell your friends online and off, let's make it a national/international challenge.

It is this feeling that keeps me donating blood on a regular basis. I can't always donate material things people need, and we do our share of cleaning out and donating to organizations, but blood donation is different to me. It is something I can do with little worry or thought. Because my blood has certain antigens and other stuff, I was classed as a "rare and uncommon" blood type at NIH (National Institutes of Health)-like we needed proof I was "uncommon"? I get a phone call every 8 weeks to come donate blood, and I go in. About 45 minutes later I'm sitting in the break room enjoying juice and a snack, I get my little sticker that I gave blood, and I'm on my way. We get cool stuff, too, like t-shirts and reusable bags (our county just instituted a 5 cent charge for every paper or plastic bag you use from a retail store) a pocket calendar, and this time we got lanyards with plastic pockets to keep our donor cards in. I know, it's the kind of stuff my kids usually raise their eyebrows at, but I love it. It's STUFF, and some of us can never have enough stuff. And the best one? Next time I go in I can get my own guest photo ID so I don't have to go through the security check every time I go onto the campus. Now that is some serious STUFF.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Why I bake, not cook

There is a reason I do not volunteer to cook anything other than vegetarian chili, spaghetti sauce and burgers. Take yesterday, for example. Sarah prefers meals without red meat and following Simple Filling on the Weight Watchers' plan makes it easy for me to eat other protein sources than red meat. So, I'd spent some time going over recipes on the WW site and found one that looked good: a vegetarian stew. After the huge success of the veggie chili, I was pretty confident it would be a winner.

I gathered all the ingredients and followed the recipe pretty exactly, only making a few spicing changes. When we sat down to dinner, Sarah looked in the pot and asked, "You won't be mad at me if I don't like it, will you?" That should have been my first clue. She sampled it, and though it was very pretty-what with all the different bean and vegetable colors-it was more like cooked veggies thrown together than a stew. She said, "Maybe it needs a little more liquid, it's not really 'stewy"." So, I thought since we generally run pea soup through the blender to make it nice and rich, maybe running the stew through the blender would solve the problem.

First error: One does not have a lot of luck if the glass container is not thoroughly seated on the base. Next thing I knew, the glass container is twisting around, and little pieces of black plastic are flying around the kitchen. Not to be deterred, I made the second error: trying to use the food processor. The processor whipped that stew into a mush, and though similar to peas soup consistency, it definitely was not appetizing. I could get graphic, but suffice it to say use your imagination: green, orange, red and white vegetables mashed with red and white beans....

Thank goodness I do a mean turkey burger!

I have finally made a list of to-do projects that need to go up on the white board I saved from the discard pile at work. I have a few sewing projects and a few crochet projects. With luck, I can clear a decent amount of space from the stash area so I can refill it will new fabric. I'm getting bitten by that sewing bug again, and it feels good.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The bag! The bag!

Okay, so here are two pictures Lill took of the bag when it arrived yesterday in AZ. I realize now that if I'd been more anal (then usual) I could have reversed the flap layout so the plaid matched the front.... isn't the lining the cutest?

It's been a couple of really busy days at work and I've come home too tired to do anything but eat dinner and sit staring off into space. Well, the staring is actually at the mantelpiece which has our anniversary clock sitting in the center, stopped at 11:40 because I haven't changed the battery yet. And Lou didn't bother to tell me until a year or so ago that he doesn't like the clock face on it and we've only had it for about 25 years. So, hopefully this weekend I can find a new clock face at AC Moore or Michael's and then I can change the face of time and put a new battery in.

I'm also happy to comment that the Susan G. Komen Foundation has come to its senses and reversed its decision to withhold funds to Planned Parenthood that are used to fund mammograms for women. If it hadn't been for a mammogram/ultrasound/MRI progression, my tumor wouldn't have been found and who knows where that could have led. March is my month: I'll be Plus 1 for 3 years!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bag Lady

So Lill wanted a bag that was not "fou-fou pink" but still had a bit of whimsy for carting her laptop back and forth to campus when she didn't want to use her "uber-pack"-that's what I privately call the Swiss gear pack all the kids have for their laptops and other stuff-it's like wearing a mini suitcase on your back. We have already picked out a pattern to make for a bag for her conferences that will look professional, so this bag had to fall in-between. I started with a basic messenger bag, but had to expand.

I made an inside pocket for just the laptop and doubled the padding in the pocket and the back of the bag. Then I put a shorter pocket on the inside front that will hold the mouse and power cord. I made an adjustable strap that may be too short, but that's not difficult to change. I thought the buckle I got for the slide was kind of tacky looking by itself, so I covered it with fabric. I also reinforced the sides and bottom with woven webbing between the outside fabric and the lining. The outside fabric was a real bargain-drapery material at $5.97/yard. The inside is quilting weight cotton in a mahjong tile print. So, it was a fun project and kept me off the streets on Sunday while I sewed.

Of course, I can't find the cord for the camera to download the pictures I took before I wrapped it for mailing, so either I'll find it soon, or Lill will have to take pictures and send them to me to post.....

There are definitely times I dislike technology.....why couldn't this camera use the same size cord as the gazillion other cameras we've had around here and still have the cords for? (and I know, I shouldn't end a comment with a preposition, but that will be a new post eventually)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Unhappy sounds

Today I moved enough stuff in the blue room to get close to my sewing machine. I'm not sure I'm happy though, Kenny is making a very bad sound when I sew. He started it when I was appliqueing the cutouts on Peg's quilt, but I did a real good cleaning and oiling and let him sit for while. However, today when I sat down to finish up some coasters that have been cut out for months (lots of months), he was fine until about the third one, then he started squeaking. It isn't pretty. So, on Thursday when I have a day off I will load him into the car and take him in to the shop and see if the guys there can get him to stop making noises he shouldn't be making. I have about half a dozen coaster sets cut out from holidays 2009-they were for the folks at work, but then Lou ended up in ICU in Ohio and that blew that holiday season to shreds. Since they were stacked on the table in the yellow room, and all the stuff in there was moved around over the past year, I completely forgot about them until early this month when they surfaced from hiding. The nice thing is that all the cutting is done, just need to do the sewing. Man, am I getting a jump on this year's holiday gifts!

Three of four walls are done so the painting moves along. It should be finished this week and furniture start to return. Lou will be rewiring an antique lamp from my mom's house (I call it antique because it's been around forever) and that will join the redecorating scheme.

I've drafted the pattern for Lill's sort-of messenger bag. It's a bag for her computer and stuff when she goes to meetings and conferences, but it's not a true messenger bag. She's trusting my judgement to pick the material, and I'm hoping to find something that is whimsical but still will pass for professional-tall order, but I'm up for it!

I finally found the perfect thank-you gift for Lill's friends Kayla and Andy who showed us such a wonderful day in Cambridge. It turns out Kayla is a goldfish cracker fanatic, and they are not available in England. So, when I was at Costco for the first time in ages, I found not only the large box that holds three bags, there was also a box of 24 individual bags for lunches. After dinner tonight I will write a note of thanks and package it up to send to the UK. I hope they enjoy it.

I had the nicest birthday yesterday with cards from my family, phone calls and dinner out at SushiKo. I got to do nothing all day while Lou and Sarah painted. I was really bad, too, as I clicked up Netflix and spent the afternoon watching episodes of season two of Torchwood, a spinoff of Dr. Who. If you are not aware of my liking for Dr. Who, than you really don't know me very well, do you? One of the highlights, among many, of my trip to London was shopping in the flagship store of Forbidden Planet, one of the absolutely best sources of Dr. Who merchandise. I think David Tennant is still my favorite doctor, but I will give "the new guy" a chance (not much of one, but I will give him one....)

So, building on my idea of setting goals rather than making resolutions, I have done a walking dvd today. 30 minutes, but covered two miles with interval work. It wasn't easy, which shows how far I have to go, but at least I started instead of putting it off. So, one goal, Start Moving, has been started. I won't say it's been met, because it needs to be more than one time, but I'm working on it!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Good weather

I am really glad we are having a mild winter with no snow, just wind and cold. I am especially glad of the sun and no snow as Sarah is shopping for furnishings for her room make over. For example, she has been scouring Craig's List for a secretary. The secretary we have, my grandmother's, does not have a large enough work surface for a laptop and books, nor does it have sliding reinforcements-hence the search.

She found a few worth looking at, one she especially liked with claw feet, circa late 1800s early 1900s. The "little" hitch was that it was in Mechanicsville, VA, a short 122 mile hop away. Since her friend was coming this weekend to visit with a van, sounded like it was worth a road trip down to look at it. Saturday morning we took off on a really nice drive, the scenery was beautiful and must look extraordinary in summer all green, or autumn when the leaves are changing. The GPS the kids gave me for my birthday worked perfectly, got us to the house of the seller. It was love at second sight-first sight was online. The secretary is in excellent condition, exactly what she wanted. So, rather than have to make a second trip to VA, we put down Miss Lucy's top, loaded the secretary in the back seat, covered it with towels and twine, and drove home. Thankfully we didn't have the predicted rain to contend with! We also made a lot of people smile as they passed us (even though I was driving the speed limit) and when we stopped for a hot drink, one lady looked at us and the car and said, "I bet you two are cold". We were, a little, but we had the heat blasting at 3 and were really warm enough.

We got home and Lou helped us unload the secretary from the car before I thought to take any pictures. Humphrey is home, waiting downstairs until the painting is finished. Of course, he may have a name change once he settles into his new home.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Amazing people

I have been blogging for a few years now. I started while I was recovering from cancer surgery and continued as I got involved in online groups of apronistas and quilters. I entered a few swaps and a few bees. These wonderful people have been so supportive through my recovery, through my husband's stroke, recovery and then his foot surgery.

Recently I asked my bee buddies to make me multicolored shapes rather than a block for my month. The plan was to make a lap quilt for my father-in-law's wife who had recently entered a care facility and was spending most of the time in a wheelchair. One of the important tasks caregivers do with dementia patients is repeatedly point out familiar things to keep their minds active. With the winter coming I wanted something warm for her. I planned to mount the shapes on black fleece to stand out, and backed it with a floral print flannel. Well, of course, the group came through in ways I had not ever expected! Eleven buddies sent 25 cutouts in rainbow colors. What wonderful people there are in the world, and I am glad they are in my corner of it.

I wanted to post this earlier, but life has a way of messing with my plans. I just want everyone to know that I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me create something that will bring warmth and color on a daily basis.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"I'm so glad"

a great song by Cream. If you don't know who Cream was, then either you didn't pay attention to rock-n-roll, or your parents didn't raise you right.....

What I am glad for tonight is that though it's REALLY cold here in Maryland, we do not have snow like my father-in-law is getting hammered with in Ohio.

I am glad that my daughters are home and can show me how to deal with the Mac. I'm not a computer savvy person to begin with, and I was really comfortable with the pc, but the next-in-line hand-me-down computer was the mac. If we get Sarah a new mac for her next set of classes, then maybe I can get her Lenovo which I can definitely deal with better than this mac. An example: I have no trouble downloading the pictures from the camera to the computer; I just can't find them on the computer after I download them. Then when I find them, I can't always figure out how to post them to my blog. So, the girls to the rescue. Hopefully, tomorrow I will be able to download the quilt I made for Peg with the Scrap Bee shapes everyone sent me.

I am glad there are still people in blogland who think of me. I treasure your friendships and support as my life takes all these weird twists and turns as we age.

I am glad I work with young people who are excited about what they do, and treat me not as an equal but an honorary mom. I get to be a part of their lives and offer advice whether they want it or not, and isn't that one of a mom's prime jobs?

I was going to write a last lofty thought for the day to end this, but then I said to myself, "whoa, you were an English and Phys. Ed. major. You have a tendency to take yourself too seriously, so lighten up!" So, instead, I'll leave you with this thought: "For every action , there is a reaction." This means if you are eating cake or chocolate, you need to take an equal number of bites so that each hip gets the same amount of stored energy (ha! I bet you thought I was going to write fat...).

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

This is definitely not an original title to a post, but I'm not concerned about it. I have not been in blogland for many months, the last few months of 2011 were not particularly healthy for us and blogland was just one more thing I had to think about.

So, to briefly summarize, the eldercare issues in Ohio continue; my father-in-law's wife was moved to a care center in September, and though she knows it is not "home" it is a much better environment for her. She receives much more stimulation on a daily basis, and is allowed to manage as much on her own as she can. This is tremendously difficult for my father-in-law, but he is coping. We have not been in Cleveland as often as previous months as Lou's health took a couple of hits in September and October with three trips to Emergency resulting in two hospitalizations. I was set to go to London to help Sarah start packing to come home, and to visit as I had never been there before. Lillian came in from AZ to stay with her father when he was released from the hospital, otherwise I wouldn't have gone.

England was amazing. I still can't easily talk about the impression the country made on me. All the years of studying England and literature bound up in places I thought I would never see. Seeing an original First Folio and Canterbury Tales were only the starting points! Seeing Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Oxford, Cambridge, Bath, London--we packed a lot of walking into two weeks.

The new year brings the usual thoughts about "what should I do differently?" This year I'm not making resolutions because they get broken so easily. I am making goals which gives me the opportunity to work on meeting them. Some of the goals I am setting have a lot to do with myself and finding "me time'-time to read, sew, crochet. I need to rededicate myself to self-improvement; like losing a few pounds and starting an exercise program. The kids got me a Fitbit and it's been a fabulous tool to watch the downloads track everything from steps to stairs to activity periods. It's definitely helped me move a little more-not enough, but more. I'm setting a goal to stay in better contact with my online friends. You don't know how much your support has meant to me over these last few years through my surgery, Lou's health concerns, the eldercare issues.... I wish I could gather you all in for a huge hug.

So, as I sit and smell wonderful aromas from the kitchen as Sarah and Lou prepare dinner, I can think again how lucky I am to have a family who likes to cook!

I'll try and post more often to remind myself that there are people "out there" who are interested in what I'm doing and thinking about!

I wish you all a happy new year, and may you enjoy good health and happiness.