Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Baby Shower Ideas?

Thank goodness the blog problems are fixed.  That was just so frustrating yesterday.
Back to the good stuff.
 I've finally had time now to work on baby things.  As I've mentioned, we have two new grandchildren arriving shortly.  Baby girl, Leanna Rene, will be welcomed into our lives around July 11.  Our other baby will be coming in September, but we don't know if we are waiting on a girl or boy yet.  We should know that in the next few weeks.
Leanna's birth date is coming up soon, so I'm going to be giving my DIL a shower on May 8 here at my house.  This will be her third child, but the first two were boys and it's been over four years since the second boy, Landen, was born.  She needs some new pink stuff this time.  And I love pink. 
I got started on the baby quilt that I showed the fabric for last week.  It's coming along better and faster than I expected.  I like to design my own patterns.  I draw it out on graph paper first and make sure I have all the dimensions and measurements correct.  Without a finished colored picture I don't always know what I'm going to get.  I get a picture in my head, but that doesn't always translate into what the finished quilt will look like.  So far so good on this one.

I fussy cut the little teddy bears out of the printed teddy bear fabric.  I'll also use this teddy bear fabric as the border around the quilt.

There will be 12 - 9" squares total.  I now have half the squares completed.  I should have it finished in time for the baby shower.
I want to stick with the color theme of pink and chocolate for the colors and food at the shower.  I'm working on ideas for this.  Strawberries and chocolate brownies.  Or strawberries dipped in chocolate.  Pink fluffy jello salad.   I have some pink dishes - might need more.  I have pink votive candle holders.  I'll have a cute pink and chocolate cake with teddy bears, or maybe individual cupcakes.  If you have any ideas for me I'd love to hear them.  I'm just starting to think and plan on this so I'm very open to ideas.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Blogger Issues Anyone?

I have been going crazy all morning wondering why my blog isn't showing any pictures.  I've run Malware, removed programs, shut down the computer, restarted, clicked here, clicked there, and nothing.  So I finally whent into Blogger Buzz and Known Issues.  There is an issue in Blogger - Unable to upload images!  Great!  They are working on this problem. 
Well now I feel better that it's not me or in my computer, but I have now wasted a whole morning.  From now on I'll know to check this Blogger site out first.
I was going to post about something else today, but  I'm so frustrated and wasted so much time that I have to get in the shower now and get dressed for an appointment with my attorney regarding our on-going zoning issues.
More later when I'm calmed down and have more time.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Things I Need To Do vs. Things I Want To Do.

I'm struggling right now between things I need to and have to do versus things I like to and want to do.  They are not usually one and the same.  Part of the frustration is coming from being so distracted by other life events over the past month that I've gotten behind in all my normal activities under both headings that I'm maybe trying to catch up in everything all at once. 
Under the heading of Things I Like To Do, this is what I've accomplished this week:
I took pictures of a really cute hat I finished knitting while riding in the car and sitting around at  hospitals.  It's knit from sheared mink that was woven into yarn. No minks were killed in making this hat!
No makeup on this day.                                                  

Also took picture of the red tweed fingerless gloves I knit, again while sitting in hospitals, to match the red tweed hat I made.

I've also been working on a set of three mini quilted pillows for  Spring to put in my Etsy shop.

I have two of them listed on Etsy and I hope to get the third one up today.  If you would like to see my shop, please go to:  http://charmingbynina.etsy.com/

That's another thing I've been working on this week:  Getting my Etsy shop organized and some expired listings re-listed and advertising again. 

Last night and this morning I worked on a fun project of exchanging our Florida time share for a time share resort in St. Thomas for the week of December 4-12 of this year.  The daughter of very good friends of ours is getting married there and we have been invited to the wedding.  We are looking forward to this fun event and vacation.  This is where we'll be going.

This will look and feel really good by December.

I also really enjoy working out on my deck and in my yard and gardens.  It's bothering me right now because the snow is gone and the sun is out quite a bit, but everything looks so bare and dirty.  I need to get out there and trim, cut, clean, etc.  This is all on my calendar for the month of April.

Now under the heading of "Things I Don't Mind " is cleaning the house, laundry, ironing, grocery shopping, and cooking.  I'm caught up on all of this except for the ironing.  The only thing I really iron are My Bob's dress shirts.  Every one of them is washed and hanging up, ready to iron.   I really have to get to this.
I Need To:  Get the taxes done, catch up on bookkeeping for My  Bob's financial planning business, set up a new web site for My Bob,  get mailers out for My Bob, well, you get the picture. 
Now that I put it all in writing I sound pretty selfish, don't I?  As Bob says to me, "which of these 'things to do' makes us the money so that you can knit, sew, Etsy, and go on vacations?"  I know, I know.  I'll get to it.
Oh - BTW, I really LOVE blogging about it all!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Now My Washing Machine Died

The funeral for Grandma on Saturday went well, for being a funeral.  Many out of town family members came into town for the weekend, which was so nice to see.  By Sunday at noon all the family had left to return home.  At 2:00 in the afternoon My Bob left for Pittsburgh airport to then fly to Orlando for a two day business meeting.  I was alone, it was quiet, and I thought I would spend the next two and a half days just resting, cleaning and doing laundry from the family guests, and then knitting and sewing.  Well, that was wishful thinking.
Sunday night actually was very nice, relaxing and quiet.  I was just so tired that I knit for a little while and then went to bed by 10:00, which is about two hours earlier than normal for me.  Monday morning I woke up with the intent on going with Mom and Dad to the cemetary to witness the burial of Grandma.  I threw a load of sheets into the washer and as I was getting some mail together to take with me to the post office I heard a loud screech from the laundry closet, then I smelled smoke.  As I walked toward the laundry I saw smoke.  I immediately called the appliance store where we purchase almost all our appliances and they said they would be out sometime during the day.  So I didn't go to the cemetary and I waited until they showed up around noon.  The diagnosis: the clutch had locked up and you can't just replace the clutch since it's enclosed in the transmission, so they would need to order a new transmission and then take the washing machine into the shop, take it apart, replace the transmission and put it back together.  How long was that going to take and how much was that going to cost?  In the meantime I wrung out the wet sheets as best I could and threw them in the dryer.  The pile of more sheets and towels sat there to my disgust. 
This morning my handy dandy appliance man called to tell me the cost to repair would be a little over $300 and he could have me a brand new washer by this afternoon for $450.  So that's what I went with. 
Then my DIL called and she was coming into town for an appointment.  I told her over the weekend that the next time she came to town, or I went to her house, we would make a trip to JoAnn Fabrics to pick out the fabrics for a new baby quilt for Leanna, due in July.  We agreed to meet at 11:00 so that I could be back home by noon so I wouldn't miss the delivery of my new washing machine after noon.  The colors of her nursery are pink and chocolate with teddy bears,  so this is what we chose.

Won't this be cute?  The pink puffy flannel on top will be the back.

As I waited for my new washing machine to show up, I was cheered up some more by the UPS truck dropping off a package for me.  It was my Pajama Jeans that I had heard about and ordered on line a month ago.  I was so excited.  I unwrapped the package and read the attached tag that said, "Wash in cold water before wearing because of the dark blue dye."  You really realize how much you need a washing machine when you don't have one.  I tried them on anyway and instantly fell in love.  They look like blue jeans, but feel like sweat pants.  Exactly what I have been searching for!   They fit and feel so good. 
I took my own picture so it took several takes to get this.  Love Them!

Finally, the big present for the day, my washing machine arrived.  It's just a nice, but very basic white one.  I only have a small space so I can't get anything big and fancy and bulky.  But that's OK.  My laundry room is actually a double closet in my hallway right outside my bedroom.  I love it there as it's so convenient.  I fixed it up to look as much like a laundry room as possible. 

I made the little mini quilt on the right to cover up the knobs and tubes.  The little laundry hanging above the cupboards was actually a wallpaper border that I fussy cut around each little piece of clothing and then hung it up so it actually looks like it's handpainted instead of walllpaper.

After I cleaned the floor and carpeting from the mess of the appliance men, I was back in business.  My new Pajama Jeans are washed, the sheets are now all clean, and the quilt fabric has been pre-washed.  It ended up not being such a bad day after all.  I would have rather not had to spend the money for the new washing machine at this point, but what was I to do?

Now I kind of wish that My Bob was going to be away for one more day  because I think tomorrow I would have been able to finally relax a little more.  But he's due home very late tonight so tomorrow will be back to work.  For some reason when he's home it's just a lot more work --- as much as I love him!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Goodbye, Grandma

My Grandma, passed away Friday, March 12

Lenora Mable Logan Bechtel, my Grandma, the strongest woman I’ve ever known, all 5 foot, 105 pounds of her. Even at half that weight in her last days, her strength was still seen. No one could understand how anyone that small could hang on so long. How did she do it?

Grandma was a petite, gentle, soft spoken lady, but she ruled her roost, in a loving but strong way that only she could get away with. She was definitely the matriarch of our family.

Grandma was a sister for 93 years, a wife for almost 74 years, a mother for almost 73 years, a grandmother for 52 years, a great grandmother for 29 years, and a great great grandmother for 5-1/2 years. She was my role model, and if I live as long as she did I will still not be able to achieve the perfection that she was in these roles.

As long as I can remember she was always the perfect grandma. She was caring and loving and I loved going to Grandma’s perfect house to visit. She would make the simplest of lunches for me that only she could prepare in just her own perfect way, not only the way her food tasted but her presentation. Simple but elegant. Austin reminded me last night how she would cut up an apple for he and Brandon and serve it to them in a little dish with little cocktail forks to eat it with. She was that way in every thing she did. I wanted to be just like her.

When I moved to DuBois as a new, young wife, I watched the relationship of a more mature marriage of about 43 years between Grandma and Grandpa. At that point I couldn’t relate. They didn’t fight, they did everything together, they didn’t travel much anymore and they went to the mall every Tuesday night and ate dinner at Valley Dairy. I thought, “How boring”. Why don’t they go somewhere? Why don’t they go out more often with friends? Why don’t they go to a movie, or go to New Year’s Eve parties? How boring their life is. But guess what? As my marriage is coming up on 31 years and I now have a marriage closer to the 43 year mark than newlywed, I understand, admire, and look at the 73 year marriage of Grandma and Grandpa as the guide to live by. If only Bob would listen as well to me as Grandpa listened to Grandma.

Then I had children of my own. My grandma now became a great grandma. Again, the perfect great grandma. Since I worked, she helped raise my young active boys. I know now that I took this a little for granted. She was so good at it and made it look so easy. My boys always behaved so much better for her than for me. And even when they spent a whole day or a whole weekend with her, Grandma’s house still remained clean and perfect. How did she do it?

And now that I have grandchildren of my own and I have two grandsons that come to visit and spend a day or a weekend, I say even louder in my head, “how did Grandma do it?” I now know and understand the love she had for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. But I don’t know how she did it all with such perfection and ease.

And all of us here know how beautiful Grandma always looked. She took such good care of herself, inside and out. She was healthy, ate well, stayed slim, and liked to take walks. She died of old age, with no disease in her body. She didn’t smoke and enjoyed only a glass of wine every once in a while. When she would come to my house for dinner or to celebrate a holiday or a birthday, she would always sit in my kitchen while I prepared dinner and I would pour us each a glass of wine and we would talk. If I asked Grandpa if he would like a glass of wine she would say, “Oh, he doesn’t need that”. So in later years, when my boys were adults, they would sneak him glasses of wine when Grandma wasn’t looking.

Grandma dressed beautifully and loved buying clothes. As a young girl, I remember her always taking me with her to the old PT store. She really missed that store when it went out. Then JC Penney became her new haunt. If she wasn’t buying new clothes in the mall store while Grandpa sat on a bench in front of the store talking to everyone he knew, then she was scouring the catalog for every size 6 petite that she could find. I always remember Grandma wearing beautiful blouses, with a blazer sporting a different brooch or pin on the collar of each and every one. And she never missed a week of getting her hair done. Even up to the last week of her life.

Anyone that had ever been in Grandma’s house knows how perfect and clean it was. Still according to Grandma’s style of simple and elegant. Again, I don’t know how she did it. She would buy new carpeting about every five years and the old carpeting still looked brand new. She would dust every single morning. She would tell us women in the family that if you dusted every day then your house would never get dusty! You couldn’t argue with that. A funny story that shows how meticulous she was: In Grandma’s later years she developed macular degeneration and her eyesight got worse and worse to the point that she really couldn’t see much at all. But yet Mom and I would be amazed at how she could keep her house so clean. Mom and I were younger and a little more physically fit (not much) and we had good eyesight, but we never felt like our houses ever came close to being as clean and perfect as Grandma’s. How did she do it? Well, one day my dad stopped over at Grandma and Grandpa’s and noticed cheerios all over the dining room floor and he asked Grandma what happened. He assumed Grandpa had maybe dropped the box of cheerios. But Grandma said that she was vacuuming and that was how she could tell where she had already run the vacuum. If she couldn’t hear the pinging of the cereal being sucked up into the vacuum then she knew that area was clean. See, there is just no excuse according to Grandma.

Grandma was and is my role model, as my mother and Jane told me she was for them, too. She was the perfect wife, mother, and grandmother. She was what I strive to be. Even if I live another 40 years I know I can never achieve her perfection. Lenora Mabel Logan Bechtel, my Grandma, was a breed of woman that unfortunately doesn’t exist much any more. And that’s a shame. Her quiet strength, her beauty, her love and her presence will be truly missed. I am just lucky that she was my Grandma.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Update During Rough Times

I'm so glad the sun is shining today.  It looks so pretty on the lake.  It really helps.  This has certainly been a very rough few weeks.  I just wanted to give a quick update to stay in touch.  I'll write more later when I feel like it and have more time.
As you know from my last post, we lost My Bob's mother on March 2.  We spent that week in Cincinnati.  When we returned home, my dad said that my Grandma wasn't doing well at all.  She's been bad for quite a while now.  She's been in the assisted living and then nursing home for three years.  Dad explained that she looked worse.  I went to visit her and she didn't even open her eyes and looked even thinner than the 53 pounds I had seen her at previously, if that's even possible.  We contacted relatives to tell of her worsened condition.  My cousin, Brad, got into town from Harrisburg on Friday to visit her, and just as he got into town she passed away, at age 93.  The viewing and funeral is this coming Friday and Saturday. 
Going on at this same time, last Thursday my mother went into the hospital for a scheduled hysterectomy operation.  She was in there until Saturday afternoon.  I've been helping her with a few things such as some laundry and cleaning out Grandma's things from the nursing home yesterday. 
Also during this time we are arguing with, fighting with, and appealing the zoning board's decision to not allow a flower shop to go into the property that my son and his wife own that we are trying to sell.  (See my February 12 post).  We thought this was a done deal, and it should have been.  The female attorney bitch (and I don't say that often) City Solicitor decided she wanted to fight us on this for no good reason.  Why do female attorneys feel they have to be like this in order to feel like they are being an effective attorney?  She loves the thrill of a good fight and good common sense doesn't even enter her mind.  Now Bob and I are going to see an attorney on Thursday to see if we have a case for appeal.  The attorney we have been recommended to is the County Solicitor.  It's become a matter of principle for us now.  My energy is running low, though, so if it's not going to be an easy win for our family I'll have to give up.
Then last Thursday I think it was, our computers quit working.  I guess the timing was as good as it could get because I didn't feel like using it anyway.  Our computer doctor came to the house and it ended up we needed a new router.  He also cleaned up the computers and ordered new memory boards for both.  We're back in business again.
Today I need to do laundry and get sheets, bedrooms and bathrooms cleaned up and ready for family arriving Friday for the funeral. 
After this weekend we'll be looking forward to a nice summer and two new lives that will be coming into our family.  We have lost two wonderful ladies and will be now welcoming two new beautiful grandchildren. 
I must go now and put all I have into the rest of this week.  I'm behind in so many things, but I can only do what I can do.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Goodbye, Mother Millie

This is a hard one to write but I feel I have to.  It's sad and depressing and it was a major event in our lives.  We just have to live through it as best we can and then continue on looking for the good, being positive, and knowing that you have to accept the sad with the joyful. 

My Bob's mother, my mother-in-law, Millie, passed away last Tuesday evening in Cincinnati.  It was 12 days before her 79th birthday.  She had a longer than expected bout with pancreatic cancer.  She was diagnosed last March and already at a stage 4.  At that time they gave her 3 months without chemo and radiation and 8 months if she decided to go that route, which she did.  She did so well and looked so good even up to the 10 month point that I think we all thought she might just beat all odds and go on as if this was just a bad dream and never really happened.  Then at Christmas we went to Cincinnati to visit and she was looking thin and weak.  We knew then that the dream was turning into a nightmare.  Bob decided that he wanted to make a trip to see his mother once a month to spend as much time with her as he could.  So in January we made another trip to visit and we actually thought she was doing pretty well.  She was still thin, but wanted to go grocery shopping, so we did.  Then she wanted to stop by the Eagles Club to sign the book for the weekly lottery, so we did.  Then she wanted to go out to dinner, so we did.  She had as much energy as me if not more.  In looking back, I think she was just excited that we were there and happened to be having a good day.  We promised her we would be back around her birthday, March 14, and we talked with Bob's five sisters and one brother about possibly having a party for her around that time.
Then we started hearing from the sisters around the end of February that we should maybe move the birthday visit up a little as she was getting tired and weak.  We set this past weekend aside for our Cincinnati visit.  We stayed in daily contact with a couple of the sisters and knew that things were going downhill.  Bob talked with his mother daily and could tell a difference in her voice and comprehension.  He would tell her we were coming down on March 5th to try to boost her up a little.  It wasn't working.  Wednesay a week ago we got a call from Debbie, Bob's oldest sister, that she had taken Millie into the hospital because she was filling back up with fluids and thought they would drain the fluid, as they had done once before, and send her back home.  That's not what happened.  They told her there was no use in draining the fluid again as it would cause more pain now and she would fill up again even faster and they admitted her into the Hospice unit. 
Bob and I started making arrangements to leave for Cincinnati.  We both talked to Millie on the phone and she sounded OK.  Bob had to re-arrange his appointments for the following week and I started packing, asked my parents to keep Ellie Mae (my black poodle) and we would take Fergie (my apricot poodle) with us, and talked with my DIL to postpone our grandson's birthday dinner that we were going to have here last weekend.  We left for Cincinnati on Friday not sure of how long we would be gone or what to expect when we got there.  We drove 6-1/2 hours (it should have taken 7 hours) and went directly to the hospital. 
We were not prepared for what we saw.  The difference and drastic decline in Millie in one month was big.  She was extremely thin, lost all her hair, and was obviously in a lot of pain.  I know it took Bob by surprise and I just started to cry. 
Without going into a lot of very sad and painful details, she got continuosly worse every day.  She talked a little bit when we first arrived on Friday, and by Sunday she couldn't talk at all.  The diloted (pain medicine) was steadily increased until it was changed to a morphine drip by Tuesday morning.  Bob stayed by her side from about 6:30 in the mornings until late in the evenings, taking small breaks to eat or go back to his sister Debbie's house close by for a nap.  That Tuesday he had just left her side at 5:00 pm to come back to the house to get something to eat and just as he was leaving to go back up to the hospital at 6:25, his brother called to say she had passed away.  With seven children, there was always at least a son, daughter, daughter in law, son in law, boyfriend of a daughter, granddaughter or grandson by her side.  Millie had eight children but Bob's brother's twin passed away 10 years ago today.  Needless to say, that is also weighing heavy on the familie's minds right now.  Millie also had four brothers and sisters that visited in and out and she had a boyfriend of 38 years, ever since she and Bob's dad divorced.  Larry spent the night with her each night she was in hospice, except for the night he showed up drunk and Bob's sister, Brenda, took him home with her.  Larry is one year older than Bob.
You're probably starting to get the whole background picture now.  There was total chaos and uphevel going on behind the scenes for this whole week.  This is too much to go into right now.  These stories could take at least one other post.
Bob and Debbie made all the funeral arrangements the following morning and they did a beautiful job.  The funeral was Friday from 11:00 to 3:30 and everything went well and it was a well attended (family alone was a large crowd) funeral. 
We headed home directly from the cemetary.  Bob's job was done and done well.  He was there for his mother and it was comforting to stay with Debbie and her husband.  The behind the scenes turmoil was just too much to take.  We couldn't wait to get back home and try to calm back down into our comparatively good life. 
We now smile when we think of good times with Millie, the vacations that we took her on with us, and how she made us laugh.  We are trying to get the images of the last 5 days of her life out of our mind.  We don't want to remember her that way.  We are so glad she is no longer in pain and in a much better place.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Dad, the White Male Conservative

I just wanted to introduce everyone to one of my favorite bloggers, My Dad.  http://roland-bechtel.blogspot.com/

He's just entering the blogland and he has a lot to say.  And he loves  feedback, positive or negative.  Now I will warn any of you liberals out there that his opinions will probably not agree with yours.  I must say, though, that it is still worth your reading as he is an excellent writer and may have some thoughts and ideas that you maybe haven't considered.  I'm trying to remain un-biased as I say this, but this is a good blog.  My Dad is a very intelligent man with 72 years experience on this earth, with an excellent education, and retired from a very rewarding career.  In other words, he's no dummy. 
If his blog is just not up your alley, please share with any bloggers you know that you feel would be interested. 

http://roland-bechtel.blogspot.com/  White Male Conservative.


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