Thursday, April 30, 2009

Why Do I Commit to Things?

I had a jewelry party last night. Now I have to say that it turned out very nice, saw some people I hadn't seen for a while, and I had a good time. But, for a week I was yelling at myself for making this commitment about a month ago to host this party. We were in San Antonio last week and had a wonderful, relaxing time, and my thoughts kepts interrupting my day with flashes of having to get ready for this party when I got home. Then when we got home, I was so tired. Travelling used to be fun, not it's a pain and hassle. - Just the actual getting there and getting back part. - The being in a different place I thoroughly enjoy. Anyway, I was so tired and again, those nagging thoughts kept popping into my head that I needed to clean my house, get a few groceries and cook a few things. Now, I love doing all of those things normally, but not when I'm on a deadline and have to get them done by a specified time. I like to do things when I want to do them. I don't like to be pressured. So now by yesterday morning I was really feeling pressured and thinking to myself, "Why am I having this dumb jewelry party? I just got back from Texas and Sunday is the baby shower for my daughter-in-law, I didn't need this right now."
So is this a lesson for me to not commit myself to things, or is it a lesson on loosening up a little bit and just take it as it comes and enjoy the ride? Probably both. At my age and place in life right now I have admittedly become a little spoiled in that I only want to do what I want and when I want and want to be able to change my mind if I feel like it. On the other hand, I had a very good time last night and actually talked and visited with friends. I've recently become a little bit of a recluse because of the hobbies I enjoy. This old party girl isn't so much into parties anymore, and am much happier being quiet and alone with my authentic self. So balance, and loosening up just a little, seems to be the lesson learned.
Who knew such a lesson could be learned by having a jewelry party?
BTW - got a real pretty necklace! Lia Sophia jewelry.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

San Antonio and "My Boys"

We just got back from San Antonio late Sunday evening. Our youngest son, Brandon, graduated from Air Force Basic Training, #2 Honor Graduate out of a class of 790. We were two very proud parents. Brandon's very pregnant wife, Diana, was also with us, and they were sooo excited to see each other.

Brandon and Diana

Our oldest son, Austin, just left for San Antonio Monday morning to start his 2 month Air Force recruiter training school. His wife, Melissa, and his two sons, Logan and Landen, are going to miss him, and vice versa, but it's all for the good.

Bob and I are so proud of both of our boys. We can think back to when they were 15 through 20 years old and the many hours of grief that they put us through. Now they are 26 and 27 and are wonderful men, husbands, sons, fathers. Being a parent can be such a difficult job, but it is so rewarding when you look at your adult children and are so amazed at the beautiful people they have become. I'm proud of them, but also proud of us for now realizing that we did a good job after all.

Me, Brandon and Bob

You Like Me, You Really Like Me!!

Lily, Thank you so much for these two awards and your kind and encouraging words. Yes, I do love blogging. It is my new hobby and creative outlet. I wish I had more hours in the day. I feel like I've entered a new virtual world of smart, creative, funny and interesting new friends. Also, thanks for introducing me to others through your blog and most recent introductions listed under this award. And most recent congratulations to you on your Blog of the Day award. Outstanding! You so deserve it. Also like your new blog design.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009

essays & utter nonsense: Attitude of Gratitude Award!Thank you Lily for this award. I was so excited to received from you. I'm still trying to figure out how to get it posted, linked, etc. I'll work on it. But thanks for following me and thinking of me for this!
Posted by Nina Knox at 10:06 AM 0 comments

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Creativity Relieves Stress

This was a beautiful Saturday. Sunshine sure does make a difference in the way you feel and think and cope. I love my life and wouldn't trade with anyone else in the world, but we've had some stressers lately. My grandparents need to be moved from Assisted Living to the Nursing Home; We just found out last week that my mother-in-law has stage 4 cancer of the pancreass, lung and intestines. She was here for my son's wedding in September and seemed just fine and looked beautiful. That's a wake-up call right there to not take your blessings for granted. You never know what life is going to hand you; My daughter-in-law's (Dee's) grandfather, age 72, most likely is suffering renal failure and the family is being told he'll need to go into the nursing home. He had a kidney transplant last year. All of this has come about this past week. And that's not to mention the state of the economy and how that is affecting all of us.

So today, I knew I needed to relieve some of the stress and concern and to wake up to this beautiful sunny day was the perfect start.

I then started work out in one of my gardens. This is the first day I've been able to get out there and start cleaning out the fall and winter mess. The physical work felt so good, and then to see the cleaned up garden and the green sprouts coming up just does something for your mind and soul. Then I sat on my porch swing for a little while and looked out at the lake.

The other hobby I have that totally relaxes me and does wonders for my well being, is "creating". I quilt, knit, cross stitch, and most recently blogging. Well, I just bought a new camera yesterday. We are leaving for San Antonio for my son (Brandon's) graduation from Air Force Basic Training next week (more on that on next post). Anyway, I finally came to the realization that I could no longer get by with a 35mm camera and got a new digital. I'm having so much fun with it. How did I live without it?

So what better way to relieve stress than to combine all my hobbies into a new project. I started a new blog page to showcase my "Charming Creations". I've had so much fun all evening working on this. I hope anyone reading this post will check out my new blog at It was started and will continue as a constant work in progress for my own mental well being and new creative outlet. At the same time, I hope you enjoy.
My "babies", Ellie Mae and Fergie. Aren't they cute? They also make me feel good. Although Fergie, on the right, now 2, is still eating poop. And he doesn't care what animal it came from. Duck, deer, geese, or Ellie Mae. Isn't that disgusting? When and how will he stop that?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Is Cooking a Lost Art?

I was cooking dinner earlier, between 5 and 6 (we eat at 6) and as is my normal, enjoyable, routine, I poured myself a glass of wine and my daughter-in-law, Diana, who lives with us right now, sat at the kitchen table so we could chit chat. She asked what I was making because it smelled good in the kitchen. It was just meatloaf. Along with a salad and vegetable rice. I had also made my own biscuits and cut up some strawberries for a dessert of strawberry shortcake. All very simple. I call it "Diner Food". This is the type of cooking I grew up on. Diana then started talking about her grandmother's cooking and baking. Her grandma makes the absolute best graham cracker cream pie and cinnamon rolls. I know because she has sent plates of each home with Diana. You have a tendency to just assume that everyone grew up on food like this, but as Diana and I discussed food and cooking, we both realized that this could very well be a dying art. I asked Dee (as we call her) if her mother was taught Grandma's recipes. Her answer was, "Yes, sort of, a little bit". Then I asked her if she was taught by her mother or grandmother? Her answer was, "No". So I told her she better learn so that these wonderful recipes aren't lost forever some day. (And so she can show me!)
I then remember a couple of instances when my boys were young and there were always friends of theirs eating dinner with us. I was reminded of a time back then that I was making strawberry shortcake (a favorite of my family, obviously) and I had invited the visiting friend of that day to stay for dinner. He loved the dessert and said he had never had strawberry shortcake before. How could someone go through 10+ years of life in Western Pennsylvania without every having strawberry shortcake? I couldn't believe it.
That memory brought about another similar memory, still involving friends (brothers) of my son's, again being invited by me to stay for dinner. The home cooked meal that night was roast and real mashed potatoes. A very simple staple in my house. These boys loved the meal and said that their mother never had dinners like that. How is that possible?
So what is going to happen to home cooked dinners and home made desserts as our grandmothers and mothers (and us 50 somethings) pass on? Most grandmothers of that era have already passed on and sometimes old, wrinkled, yellowed recipes are discovered in cupboards or old recipe boxes. But are current working mothers going to take the time to follow these long lost recipes? With each generation I think this possibility lessens. What a shame!
I feel that if there was more home cooking done, there would be more families sitting together for dinner, not to mention how much healthier and happier our children would be. Who knows, maybe if a study were done, it could be determined that a lot of the problems in today's world could be directly or indirectly related to the lack of home cooked meals, lovingly prepared and served. I know cooking isn't everyone's "thing", but I sure feel sorry for those that don't experience it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter, Spring, and a New Awakening


We had a very nice Easter with family and friends. My cousin, Brad, and his family were here from Harrisburg. I enjoy the talks I have with Jane, Brad's wife. She's so intelligent and insightful. Saturday night was spent with a few of my good girlfriends that I also admire and gain so much wisdom from. It seemed to be a theme for the weekend: talking to women I really respect and collecting new thoughts and new strategies for dealing with some "issues" I have right now. My girlfriend, Paula, offered me the most helpful advice. First of all, set boundaries for yourself and let those boundaries be known. Secondly, identify problem ownership.
Now here is the reason this advice was so helpful. My son, Austin, will be starting his new career and job next week as an Air Force Recruiter. He is very excited and this is good news. His wife , Melissa, also currently works in a metal manufacturing plant. They have two boys, ages 3 & 4. The problem now arising is that they will no longer qualify for day care assistance due to their increased income. Melissa planned on going part time or even not working at all to stay home with the boys. But she was planning to do this in about 6 months. Logan is in pre-school every morning, so he was in day care each afternoon and Landen was in day care all day. Melissa was explaining this new situation to me over the phone on Thursday right before they left for New York to visit her family for Easter. She commented that she did not really want to stay home all day with the boys, but they would not be able to afford day care. I shouldn't say that, they could afford it, but it would take most of her pay. I felt like I am supposed to offer to keep the boys every day. That's what a good grandma does, right? But I kept these thoughts to myself as Melissa talked and told her something would work out. Then I called my friends. I don't want to be a full time day care, even if it's for my own grandchildren. I will help in any way I can, short of being their full time care giver. I want to be grandma, with my own life, my own work, my choice of what I decide to do with my life each and every day. I have worked for and earned this right. Am I being selfish? Probably. But these are my boundaries. I am no longer a full time caregiver to children. Been there, done that. I love my children and grandchildren beyond measure. But their lives, and their children, and how they choose to make all that work, is no longer my problem. I will always "be there" for all of them to talk to, for advice, to complain to, to ask questions of, to physically help when I'm available, but it is no longer my responsibility. This realization was hard for me and I'm sure I will need to be reminded of this often, but my mental health and happiness depends on it.
So thank you to Jane, Paula, Francey and Cheryl. You all make my life better.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Beautiful Spring Day and The Circle of Life

The sun is shining and the birds are singing. Days like this make me feel so good and seem to make such a difference in mood, health, and ability to "deal". So why don't we all live where there's more sunshine? Western Pennsylvania is beautiful on days like this, but we just don't have enough of them. And maybe I wouldn't appreciate them so much if they were more frequent.

I'm also alone in my house right now and that doesn't seem to happen too often lately, either. As much as I love my family being close enough to "pop in", anyone that knows me knows that I savor my alone time. I think this is much more a "woman thing". My husband works from home and really doesn't care that much to be alone for very long.

We are very lucky to have five generations of our family living in our small town. The down fall is - we have five generations of family living in our small town. They call my generation the sandwich generation. I am the middle of a double decker sandwich. My parents, ages 70 and 71, live right down the road, and my grandparents, ages 92 and 93, live in an Assisted Living Village, about 7 miles from me. Then I have my 28 year old son and his family also living in town about 7 miles away, and my new daughter in law living with us while my younger son , Brandon, is away at Air Force Basic Training in San Antonio. My oldest son, Austin, has 2 sons ages 3 and 4. Bob and I have them visit and stay with us quite often. We are very lucky, indeed, and it's all nice, especially when everyone is healthy, well, happy and content. But all the stars are not perfectly aligned most of the time, and then you just want to cry, "Calgon, take me away".

Our issue today is Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma is very frail and weak physically and can't do anything for herself. Mentally she is very sharp. Grandpa, on the other hand, is fairly strong physically, but losing mental capacity. He's confused and forgetful. They've been married for 72 years. Well, on Monday night, Grandpa fainted in the bathroom, along with a sudden loss of bodily function. So the ambulance arrived, and after kissing Grandma on the forehead and telling her he thought he was dying, he was taken to the hospital. It was determined he was anemic and for some reason his blood pressure plummeted. He was given IV's and blood and went back home last night. Grandpa really is not able to help Grandma with all of her needs, but she wanted him back with her. Grandpa made sure that Grandma was told that he loved her when he was in the hospital. It's all very touching, but very sad. My mother and I take turns going to the Village to feed Grandma her lunch, wash her a little, comb her hair, and anything else she may need. She really needs to go into the Nursing Home where she can get the extended care that she needs. By having them make this move, they will leave their little 3 room apartment, nicely furnished and private, and move into a sterile, hospital room type environment. What to do? This is very sad and difficult to witness.

Since they are in my thoughts so much right now, I am reminded of what wonderful grandparents and role models they were for me, especially when I was a young mother. I learned so much from Grandma as far as being a good wife, being a good mother, keeping a nice house, and always being loving and there for us. Now that I'm a grandmother of two boys, I think, "what would Grandma have done", many times. And I'm still amazed when I think of how perfect she kept her house. I try to do everything the way she did, but I feel I still never get it quite as perfect as she did. And now --- she thanks me for taking care of her. I'm so lucky to have had them so long in my life, but yet it's been so hard lately to compare what is with what was. The Circle of Life!! A blessing that's not always easy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pie

Recipe used for my son's birthday dinner last night:

Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pie

l lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 in. pieces
1/4 cup Kraft Light Zesty Italian Dressing
4 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese, cubed
2 T. flour
1/2 cup fat-free reduced sodium chicken broth
1 pkg. (10 oz) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 refrigerated pie crust (I use 2)

Heat over to 375. Cook chicken in dressing in large skillet on medium heat 2 min. Add cream cheese; cook and stir until melted. Add flour; mix well. Add broth and vegetables; simmer 5 min.
Pour mixture into deep dish pie crust. Arrange 2nd pie crust over filling; flute edges. Cut 4 slits in crust to allow steam to escape.
Bake 30 min. or until crust is golden brown.
ENJOY!! You're welcome!

What Am I About?

I have so many things and thoughts in my head I would like to share. As a fairly young, modern, grandmother, I feel I have some wit and wisdom that others may be interested in, or you probably have thoughts and ideas of your own to share. As a 51 year old female from the baby boom generation, there are so many women out there that can relate to me and me to them and our voice isn't one that's heard. Sure, there are the women celebrities whose voices we hear all the time, but I don't feel they are able to relate to the real world and real life. They are all treated and looked upon as experts in different areas such as being a mother, homemaking, organizing, decorating, fitness and exercise, etc. But when you have nannies, maids, professional decorators, gardeners, personal trainers, and excess money to do it all, how is this real life? We need to hear from real women, with real issues, and we have to figure out how to do on our own with probably limited resources to do it all with.
Having said all that, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Nina Knox and I live on a beautiful lake, Treasure Lake, in DuBois, a small town in Western Pennsylvania . You can read my profile to fill in the blanks. It's April 8, but winter feels like it's still here today. Some snow on the ground and very cold. I have a lot of gardening and outside work I'd like to get started on, but I don't go out in the cold.
Yesterday was my son's (Austin's) 28th birthday. I can't believe he's that old. I don't feel that much older than when he was born. I had a family dinner last night for him. My Mom and Dad; Austin and wife, Melissa, and his 2 sons, Logan and Landen; daughter-in-law, Diana; Bob and I. Austin's choice for dinner was homemade chicken pot pie, salad, biscuits and hot fudge and peanut butter sundaes. It turned out pretty good.
Bob's been getting some bad news about his mother who lives in Harrison, Ohio, outside of Cincinnati. Bob's sisters have been reporting back to him. Mother Millie has some spots on her pancreas and lungs and biopsies were performed yesterday. We're waiting on results and are worried.
I finished a knitted scarf that I was working on. It's a summer scarf that I wanted to make to go with a new skirt that I just got. May wear it for Easter.
And what about American Idol last night? I'm very addicted and love Adam. I think he's very sexy, even though I could be his mother and he's gay. He's still sexy. I think Lil or Scott will be leaving tonight.
*News Flash* - Sun just came out!! WOO HOO!! That feels better.
Gotta get some ironing done. Mostly Bob's shirts. It's hard to keep up with these. Oprah's on in 15 minutes, so that's a good time to iron.
Don't know what to have for dinner. It'll just be me and Bob. Diana (Dee), who lives with us right now, will be having dinner at her grandmother's tonight. So something light and simple sounds good. Maybe an omelette.


Family Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory

Stumble Upon