Friday, January 29, 2010

My World, My Style

Wow! It's cold outside.  I am staying inside all day.  I love when I can do that.  The sun is out, which is unusual around here, so it's really pretty.  We ended up getting a lot of snow yesterday.  This is what it looked like yesterday morning.
As of the day before yesterday, all the snow was almost gone due to all the rain we had.  Now this again.  I'm so lucky that I don't usually have to go out if I don't want to.  I can at least wait until the driveway gets shovelled. 
I was able to get my new white lights up on my mantel.  I'm so used to these lights that when they burn out it drives me crazy.  The room just feels so dark and cold without them.  Little lights just make a room feel so much cozier.  I have a small little passion for small little lamps.  My Bob calls it my light show when I start turning on all my little lamps at 5:00 in the evening. 
Here's my mantel with the lights out.

Just too dark, isn't it?
Now here it is with the lights on.

Isn't that better?  And this picture was taken during the day.  It's even prettier at night.   I also found these cute little wooden valentines at JoAnn's.  I like that they're subtle and muted and blend in better with my colors.  I'm not really a bright red person.

As you can see, I have an Old World theme to my home with wine, grapes, vines, etc.  At least this is what the HGTV web site told me.  That's a fun site if you're into decorating, crafts, gardening, etc.  You can take a little quiz on line that tells you your decorating style.  Mine is "Old World, New Way".  I was so excited to know my style had an actual name. 
 I may have shown this before, but this is my fireplace screen that we had a stained glass artist friend of ours make for us as per my design.

I didn't like the old ugly black cover that's on the fireplace so this is a pretty cover up.

So for today I told myself I was going to work on bookkeeping.  I'm still procrastinating on that job.  Maybe after lunch ---.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Good To Go Again

I'm calmed down now and mentally feeling so much better.  I  spent the day yesterday doing what I needed and wanted to do for me.  I started out the morning preparing  chicken barbecue for the slow cooker.  My mother gave me this new slow cooker for Christmas and I use it several days a week.  I had an old one that just wasn't cooking right.  Now this one is my new best friend. 

I had this cookbook.  It's fantastic.  You could cook a different meal every day for at least two years.  For two people, though, that's way too much to eat.  Anyway, I had that going so I didn't need to worry about dinner.  Done. 
Then I met Mom for a late breakfast at Eat 'N Park, which we hadn't had the opportunity to do for a while.  That was nice.
Next stop - Wal-Mart.  I know Wal-Mart can get a bad rap, but in this small town it's all we've got.  They're in the process right now of building a Wal-Mart Superstore in our town and we're so excited.  The local grocery stores aren't  so happy about it, which I can understand.  So I spent about an hour and a half just putzing and wandering around Wal-Mart.  All by myself.  Just getting things I needed for around the house.  Some necessities and other things just to spruce up the house a little.  Thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Next stop - grocery store.  I know a lot of people don't like going to the grocery store, but I do.  I had my computerized grocery list that I had printed off in the morning and then it feels so good to take my pen and scratch each item off as I put it in my cart.  See, it really doesn't take much to make me happy, does it?
On to JoAnn Fabrics.  I need new mini white lights for my mantel and wanted to see if there were any cute Valentine decorations left on sale.  I found both. 
Next - the yarn shop.  Ohh, I love it there!  I spend way too much time in there when I go.  I hadn't been  for a couple of weeks.  I got some red tweed washable wool to make a new hat.   I couldn't wait to get home, put away the groceries, eat the barbecue beef on bakery fresh kaizer rolls with cole slaw, so that I could go off to my sewing room and turn on American Idol and start knitting with that yarn.  And that's exactly what I did. 
Besides eating breakfast with my Mom and dinner with My Bob, I spent the whole day by myself.  I really needed that. 
None of the issues bothering me the other day have really changed, it's just that now I feel rested and more relaxed.  I can deal with whatever life brings me again.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Frustrated and Edgy - Get Over It!

I feel so frustrated and on edge today.  Don't know why, exactly.  I think I'm just tired and have no time just to myself.  Then I feel so guilty for feeling this way and saying this because I know I have a comparatively good and easy life.  So I hate to complain.  And I'm not really complaining, I'm just edgy.

I have been going to Austin and Melissa's house one or two days a week since they moved in order to help, but I think I'm going to have to pass this week.  It's wearing me out and it frustrates me.  There's so much to do there and every time I go down I feel like I'm starting all over again.  It feels like there's more to do each week instead of feeling like the progress made equals the time put in.  I was there two days last week and then they came here on Saturday to clean out the old house.  We kept the boys Saturday and overnight, then met their mom and dad half way on Sunday to eat late lunch and hand them back over.  Now this weekend again they are coming back to town to (hopefully) finish cleaning and get the house ready to rent and list for sale.  Again I'll be helping, either by keeping the boys or cleaning.  Even though I don't really mind doing either, it makes me tired and then I get behind in my own work. 
Austin also is having his first inspection by the higher ups at his recruiting office and he was very nervous.  This makes me nervous.  My feelings have always been connected with Austin's.  First child and all, I guess.  I always feel whatever he is feeling.  Weird or normal?  I don't know.  I don't have that same kind of mental connection with Brandon.  Of course I love them both, but Austin is more of a worrier himself and much more sensitive and for some odd reason I pick up on that even if I'm not physically with him.  Weird?
I've also gotten behind in bookkeeping and computer work for my husband's Financial Planning business.  One of my New Year's resolutions was to stay current on this and I'm so not there yet.  Since I'm usually pretty organized, this unorganized portion of my life is starting to drive me crazy.  And being that this is the money maker that makes it possible for me to do all the other things that I do, you would think this would be my first priority.  I'll get there.  It's not that much fun so I procrastinate on this job.

The one last thing bothering me right now is knowing that Mom and Dad are leaving for Florida on Saturday for two weeks.  They need and deserve this break so I'm glad they're going, but because Grandma is in such poor health in the nursing home, I'm very nervous about them not being here.  I'll be taking Mom's place as main visitor and care taker at the nursing home and I guess I'm just afraid.
So now that I've written out all my issues I feel better already.  As you can see these are really all non-issues that now that I see it in front of me if feels like I'm worrying about abstract "what if's" and there is in reality nothing wrong.  So ---- I need to quit worrying about things that haven't happened.  I need to say "no" more often.  I need to take more time for myself no matter what others need or want from me.
Oh, I feel much better now.  I needed to take this time to organize my thoughts.  OK, now I'm ready to move on.  I'm going to go upstairs to my little studio, turn on Oprah, and make a pincushion. 

I'm also looking forward to American Idol tonight.  Love that show.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Such a Problem!

I have a problem!  I can't get everything done in a day that I have told myself I need to do.  I don't think it's that I do that much.  I really am coming to realize that the problem is me.  I'm so slow at everything I do.  Yes, time is an issue.  There just isn't enough of it.  Here's the real problem.  And I hate to throw these terms out there because they are overused and abused and not really understood.  But I think I have ADD and OCD, and I'm a perfectionist.  There has been much discussion in our family lately about the tendancy in our family to be blessed with these conditions.  I always felt I had OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), but I am starting to think I also have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).  But doesn't everyone have a little bit of both of these conditions?  Isn't everyone like this?  Honestly, I think the answer is  "no". 
Here's an example:  In helping Melissa clean and decorate their new home for the past two days I had a list of things we wanted to get done in two days.  It was a very do-able list.

 But this is what I do:  I start to install the curtain rods on the first of two windows in the boys' play room.  Should only take about ten minutes to screw in four brackets.  Then I notice that the windows are filthy.  I get down off the step stool, find the windex and clean the windows.  Then I notice the curtains we are going to hang are ones that were previously hanging in the boys' old bedroom.  They haven't been washed, ever.  So I throw those into the washing machine.  OK, now back to the windows.  The inside of the glass is clean (the outside will have to wait until spring), but the window frames and sills are filthy, which I discovered while cleaning the glass.  They aren't just dirty, they are old and should be replaced, but I can only do so much.  Back down off the step stool and get the pledge and Old English.  If you have never used Old English to shine up wood and cover scratches, you need to get it.  It can make old, scratched, dull wood shine and look like the pretty antique that it is.  OK, got that done.  Then continue with the brackets. Oh shoot!  I put the first one up backwards.  Now I need another cup of coffee.  I go into the kitchen and notice there are some sticky spots on the floor.  I have to clean the floor before I can get my cup of coffee.

 Ten minutes later, OK, now take a few sips of coffee and back up on the step stool and finish putting up the brackets.  Throw the curtains in the dryer just for about five minutes, get them on the curtain rods, hang the rods up, adjust the curtain so they hang right,

 set the TV stand and TV back in place, notice that the TV is dusty and a knob needs fixed on the TV stand.  You got it! have to dust the TV and fix the knob.  Need to vacuum the floor after making all the mess from the window project, but we're starving and decide to take a break and go to lunch.
That's just one example of how I do things.  A ten minute job takes me two hours.  It's done right, but could it have been done right without taking so long?  If so, I don't know how. 
Today I'm back home and on my list for today is laundry, finish sewing buttons on new knitted neckwarmer and get it listed on Etsy, check all the e-mails since I haven't been home for two days, get started on bookkeeping for 2009 taxes, clean the foyer floor, and wash my hair.  So while blogging about it all, it's almost 3:00, and I got 3 of the 4 loads of laundry done, checked the e-mails but got totally distracted by an HGTV e-mail that I had to look into, washed my hair (which led to cleaning the bathroom), picked out buttons for the neckwarmer (that took a while), got some 2009 receipts put in a pile but got distracted and had to clean the file drawer, fixed some lunch and then had to clean the kitchen, and My Bob keeps talking to me.  I don't have time to listen or talk back. 
So do you see my problem?  I am not going to get everything done on my list and I wish I could just say, "Oh well", but instead I get very anxious.  One thing I have started making myself do is to stop it all at 8:00 at night, no matter what is left hanging on my list, and I go to my sewing room and relax.  And by relax, I mean knit, sew, make a pincushion, do something creative and fun while I watch TV. 
Now tomorrow, Austin and Melissa and boys are coming up to finish cleaning out the old house and get it ready to rent and/or sell.  Of course I'll help.  I already promised the boys I'd make mac 'n cheese and bake chocolate chip cookies.  Then I'll help with the cleaning. 
But you know what?  I'm well aware that my problem is a good one and I'm lucky to have this problem.  I'm not living in a city destroyed by an earthquake.  I have a beautiful, healthy family that loves me and wants to be with me.  I'm not homeless and in need of food or shelter.  I'm so grateful to be who I am.  So I'll deal with my fortunate problems.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mystery of Death, Miracle of Birth

We got back home from our quick weekend trip to Cincinnati yesterday around 3:30 in the afternoon.  We had pouring rain pretty much the whole way home, but we still made very good time.  We had my little Fergie with us, so we had to stop one time at a rest stop.  It sure saves a lot of time when you drive the approximately 360 miles without stopping for an hour and a half at Cracker Barrel.  My legs just get so restless.  I was able to knit for six straight hours, though.

We got into my brother's house on Friday evening around 6:00.  My sister in law had her card club get together so Chuck (my brother), my Bob and I ordered take out Chinese.  That seems to be our Friday night ritual as of late.  Chuck and Jill have such a beautiful home and a very comfortable guest room.

Picture of Chuck and Jill at Christmas

Saturday morning we drove to the other side of Cincinnati to spend the day with Bob's mother.  For those that aren't up to date, Mother Millie has pancreatic cancer and about a month ago she was given 3 to 6 months by her doctor.  We are going to try to make this trip to Cincinnati about once a month to be able to spend as much time with her as we can.  It's a very sad thing to watch and she is very sad and depressed.  She's losing her hair with the chemotherapy treatments and is in a lot of pain.  The pain seems to be under control right now with pain medication.  She says the once a week chemo sessions are very difficult and make her very sick.  We were told recently by Bob's sister that two more tumors have been discovered.  So here's my question:  Is chemotherapy worth it?  I have no experience with cancer and admittedly know nothing about effects and results of chemotherapy.  All I know is that anyone I've ever know with cancer seems to get really sick from the chemo. and I have never known anyone personally that has beat this thing.  I hear of cancer survivors, but are there survivors from pancreatic cancer?  I just have all these unanswerable questions about this disease.  Why do some people get it and others don't?  Why does it happen?  What causes it?  My MIL has always eaten well, exercised a lot and was usually very upbeat.  Now granted, she drank probably more than she should have and had some very rough times in her life, but does this cause cancer?  It's such a mystery to me.

We took her for groceries and we just sat in her living room and talked.  Then we took her to dinner at a very nice restaurant where her oldest daughter, Debbie, is a waitress.  Debbie was working that night so she waited on us.  We were also joined by Bob's brother, Debbie's husband, and a very good friend of ours, Mike.  Mike was the best man and one and only witness on our wedding day 30 years ago. 

Mother Millie and Mike

Millie was getting very tired during dinner, but she ate well and was glad to be with family and friends.  I overheard her say to Mike, "Please pray for a miracle for me".  It's so sad.  But she really did better than I expected of her that day and she looked so cute with her little black hat on.

We took her home so she could get to bed, then Bob and I went back to my brother's house for the night.  After a nice breakfast with Chuck and Jill at a cute little restaurant called "The Breakfast Club", we headed back home. 

Our Sunday evening ended on a fun and positive note.  My son and his family were waiting for us at our house.  We knew they were coming.  It was their 6th anniversay yesterday and they drove the hour to our house to go out to dinner.  We had kept in touch and told them to bring the boys to us as we would be home by 4:00.  So we had a nice visit with Austin, Melissa and the boys, then the boys stayed with us while their mom and dad went to dinner. 

Austin and Melissa in front of my Valentine tree.

Melissa had her first sonogram today and we were hoping to maybe find out if we have a boy or girl on the way.  It's still a little too early, though, so we don't know yet.  The sonogram did show that the baby is healthy and growing well.  That's all that matters.

I continue to be amazed at the miracle of birth and the mystery of death up close and personal.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Enjoy the Good, Deal With the Bad - That's Life

I wish I had the time to write slower, with more thought and insight and wisdom, but I don't have that time.  Events seem to be happening faster than I can write about them, so I'm summarizing in order not to miss anything.
My DIL, Dee, and granddaughter, Riley, are in Pennsylvania from Spokane for two weeks and part of that time they have been in Pittsburgh with Dee's family so we only see her every few days.  I'll take it.  They were just here for about three hours and I made lunch for Dee and her mother, Lori.
Lori and I have known each other for about 30 years, even before our children were born.  Lori's parents and my grandparents are members of the same church and they have known each other's families just about their whole lives.  So now to have Lori's daughter and my son married with this little beautiful baby girl that is our mutual granddaughter is so unbelievable when we think about it.

Me and Baby Riley

Grammy Nina and Grampy Bob

Yesterday my mom and I went to the other kids' new house in Indiana, PA, to help my other DIL with the continual cleaning and decorating.  I certainly don't get as much accomplished when I go there as I would like to.  The boys are now in their new pre-school, so it's a little easier to get things done while they're in school.  We made a trip to Lowe's, which happens to be right across the street from their house, and shopped for curtain rods and a few curtains.  I got one curtain rod and curtain up in the downstairs bathroom.  There are approximately 20 more windows to go.  Mom helped clear all of the remaining boxes out of the living room and Melissa worked on cleaning the boys' toy room.  There is still a lot to do.  I'll try to get down there one day next week again.

On Monday, I went with Mom and Dad to the funeral home to make funeral arrangments for Grandma.  She's still with us, but Mom and Dad are going to Florida for two weeks in February and I didn't want to be faced with any of these decisions on my own and I wouldn't want them to have to rush back from their trip to be faced with this difficult job at a difficult time.  To write an obituary, choose a casket, clothes, pictures, etc. is not a pleasant thing to do at all, but it is easier to do before a death rather than the day of or the day after.  Grandma is 93 years old and weighs 59 pounds and we just do not know how she is staying alive.  It's still not her time.

Last weekend I finally got ALL my Christmas decorations put away.  All in the appropriate box and plastic container and in the closet under the stairs.  There are only a couple of things still left outside because they are either buried under snow or it's just been way too cold for me to want to go out and take it down.   I always leave the tree up in the tea room and I have it re-decorated for Valentine's Day.  The lace ornaments are left on, the Christmas balls come off and hearts go on, velvet bows come off and roses go on, and Christmas ribbon is replaced with ribbon with hearts.

I still plug those white lights in every night.

Oh, and here is my newest tea set addition for my tea room.

This was a Christmas gift from my son, Austin, and DIL, Melissa.  They found this black rose tea set in a little shop in Germany during their visit there in November.

Now tomorrow Bob and I are leaving for Cincinnati again for the weekend.  We want to visit his mother who is very ill with pancreatic cancer.  We will probably be making this 6 1/2 hour one way trip every month or so until ---.  Another sad event slowly occuring for us. 

When we get back home around 6:00 on Sunday evening, our son, both DIL's and all three grandchildren will meet us here at home to visit each other.  Then Bob and I will babysit the three little ones while the three older ones go out to dinner for Austin and Melissa's 6th anniversary. 

My wish for this beginning of this new year is to actually be able to hibernate for 3 to 4 days.  As much as I am thrilled to have my grandchildren around me and to be needed and wanted by my children, DIL's, and husband, I would love to have just a few days all to myself.  No visits, no interuptions, no place to have to go.  Just 3 or 4 days, that's all.  I don't really see this happening in the near future, though.  How about one day?  I would settle for one day!  Oh well, I'm not complaining, just tired.   

Friday, January 8, 2010

Busy and Growing Family

Oh my, it's been a busy week.  This was my first day in a week to spend alone in my own house and get some cleaning done here.  It's Friday, 5:00 p.m., and I'm finally sitting down with a glass of wine and catching up on my writing.  My Bob should be home shortly and is bringing home Chinese take-out.  This has become our new Friday night ritual.  We used to go out to dinner on Fridays, but we just don't feel like going out, especially in this weather.

The snow just keeps coming down.  Those schools that didn't close today ended up dismissing early.  I keep measuring the amount of snow by looking at how much is piled on my back deck railings and table. 

This was yesterday morning.  There's more now.

We need to get this shoveled off soon or it's going to get too heavy. 

                    Mom and Dad's house

My dad shoveling.  I know he's smiling, but he's not really having fun.

It's also very cold outside.  It was 8 degrees at 9:00 this morning and it's 16 degrees at 5 pm.  It's beautiful if you're lucky enough to be inside a warm house. 
Last weekend I wasn't so in love with this weather.  We moved Austin and family about 50 miles away, but with the back roads and the bad weather it takes about an hour and a half to get there.  Bob and Austin loaded the U-Haul themselves and I don't know how they did it.  I helped on the other end and spent the night with them Saturday night so I could continue unpacking and cleaning on Sunday.  It was so late, dark, cold and snowy that the U-Haul didn't get un-loaded until Sunday morning.  What a job!!  Bob and I came home Sunday and Bob said he felt like he just ran a marathon and I said I felt like I was hit by a truck.  We made a promise to each other that our furniture moving days are over.  The boys can find friends or hire professionals.  They have too much stuff now and we're getting too old.  We can do it, but the recovery time has increased greatly.
On Wednesday I went back down to the kids' new house with a car load of left behind items and continued the unpacking and cleaning.  The house is nice with a lot of potential, but it was really left dirty by the previous tenants.  I'm tired of cleaning but I can't make myself stop when there is still more to do.  I came back home Wednesday night and will not allow myself to go back down until maybe next Wednesday.  As long as Melissa is still asking for my help I will continue cleaning, fixing and decorating.  With her being pregnant I don't want her to lift too much or move furniture.
After I got home on Wednesday, exhausted and sore and getting into a hot bath, my #2 son, Brandon, called from Spokane.  It was 10:30 at night and I was surprised that he called that late, but he was telling me about their move into their house on Monday (see, if we're not there they find a way) and that they have a new mattress and new washer and dryer ordered and to be delivered when Diana returns from her visit here.  Diana arrived at her parents in Pittsburgh last night and she and Baby Riley will be stopping by my house tomorrow.  So I'm thinking to myself, why is he calling me so late and telling me this.  But I'm glad he called me so I'm asking questions about the house, mattress and washer and dryer.  Then he says, "and we also have another baby coming in August".  Oh My!!  Baby Riley is only 7 months old.  I am thrilled, though.  Brandon said that is why they called me first, because they knew I would be excited.  They were surprised but happy with the news themselves.  So now I have two new grandbabies arriving this summer.  That will make five grandchildren in six years for us.  I can hardly believe it. 
I now have more baby quilts to sew and baby sweaters, hats and booties to knit.  I just don't know how I can keep up!  I can't sew and knit fast enough!  I think we may be done with new babies after these next two, but I said that seven months ago!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Moving Into the New Year

This is going to be a hectic day.  This is moving day for Austin and his family.  They are only moving about an hour and 15 minutes away, but it's very cold out and a lot of snow.

Bob shoveling yesterday - there's a lot more this morning

 Austin is picking My Bob up at 8:30, in about an hour and a half, to go pick up the U-Haul.  The boys spent the night here last night so that Austin and Melissa  could get more packing done.  I'm going to gather up my cleaning supplies, some food for a few meals, a little bag for myself in case I decide to spend the night at the new house, then the boys and I will pick up Austin's brother-in-law that lives with them and we'll head off to the new house. 
The reason for the move is for Austin to be closer to his recruiting office.  It's a good move, but a hard one.  Austin is having to give up the house he's in now, which was his great-grandparent's home for 50 years.  It holds a lot of memories and was so convenient to us.  But these changes were in the best interest of their family, so life goes on.  This new house is not a "new" house.  Just new to them.  It's from around the 1960's and is a five bedroom, 3 bath with a unique layout.

 They'll just be renting it, so there are many things I would do to fix it up, but they won't want to do as a rental.  So I'll help clean it real good and offer my decorating advice.  Sometimes it's hard to draw the line between trying to be helpful and butting in.  I'll do my best to walk that tightrope.  It can be hard for me to not go overboard with the cleaning and the decorating because I enjoy doing it.  Why is it that I see dirt and problems where no one else does?  Just drives me crazy.  Anyway, so far they are asking for my help so I'll take advantage of the opportunity. 
The boys are still asleep, and as soon as they get up, which I expect to be any minute now, the "fun" will begin.  I sure wish I had slept better, but too much going on in my head.
Then last night my other son from Spokane called to say that they just got word that they got a three bedroom, 2 bath house that they had been on a waiting list for.  They are packing up their tiny apartment right now and moving on Monday.  This is a house on base (Air Force).  These on base houses are very nice.  They looked at houses off base to rent and there is nothing nice.  And they wouldn't be able to buy a home in Spokane that would be even close to being as nice as the base housing.  As soon as they get moved in, Brandon starts his six months of Survival Training and Diana will be coming home for a two week visit.  I wish I could go back with her and help clean and decorate their new home! That just won't be possible right now.  If they were closer I would certainly be there. 
I am hoping that I can get one whole day to myself pretty soon.  I think I'm going to be very tired after this weekend.
We did have our New Year's Dinner yesterday.

Table setting for New Year's dinner

 I cooked our traditional pork roast, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, applesauce, green beans with almonds, and chocolate peanut butter pie.  There were nine of us here. It was very good, if I do say so myself.  Austin and Melissa ate and then left shortly after to continue their packing.
Ohh - there they are!  They're up!!  Time to get this party started!!!


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