Monday, May 18, 2015

Thinking about my Mom -post-Mother's Day

This probably will be the longest paragraph I have ever written and hopefully, for the sake of anyone reading this, will be the longest one that I will ever write too!

I read an article tonight about registered nurses and the things that they talk about at home, how they deal with their family when one of the members is sick or injured and other traits that are -to people who know nothing about living with an RN probably would ever think happens.

But it brought back memories to me of my Mom, who was a registered nurse -or "RN" as we like to call them. Maybe because Mother's Day was just last week and I'm still on a bit of a high from the cards I got from my kids and grandkids and the flowers my son and his girlfriend brought down to my house today -2 beautiful hanging planters filled with light lavender petunias -plus two other gifts as well -a set of pyrex bakeware (5 pieces, all with LIDS) and a new KitchenAid portable mixer too! I guess this was a hint that I've kind of stopped cooking very much lately and maybe the want me to bake something or at least, cook a full meal now and then.

But anyway, this is a compilation of my thoughts -and the main memories I remember of my Mom, the RN. I apologize for the big, big paragraph but I just couldn't bring myself to break it into smaller segments for fear I would forget something!

So, with that in mind, I now give you my fondest memories of Nurse Hazel, my Mom.

My Mom was an RN but she never talked about things pertaining to her patients -probably because she generally worked private duty, often in the patient's home, usually worked the midnight shift too, and because almost all her patients were elderly and dying, her one brother used to tease her about her nursing skills since it seemed all her patients always died. When I was small, I used to get tonsillitis on a regular basis and my Mom was good friends with the family doctor so when I got hit with another go-round of the throat stuff, she would stop at his office (in his home) and tell him "The kid has another sore throat, can you give me a script for penicillin and I swear that man never heard of meds in pill form. He always gave her a little bottle of the stuff, to be injected in my behind. This to a kid who was terrified of needles and therefore, it would take my Mom and both my grandparents to hold me down on the sofa while she tried to inject this medicine into me -all the while telling me the reason it hurts is because you are tense. Just relax! Relax my foot! I once managed to run a pick into the bottom of my right leg. When I did it, I didn't even realize I had broken the skin but my aunt saw my leg was bleeding and made me go inside to have my Mom check it out. She did that, poured some hydrogen peroxide into the wound -which of course stung like crazy -and then, took some bandaids and tried to pull the wound together as much as possible and slap the bandaids in place. About 3 or 4 days after I did this, she was cleaning it one day and said it seemed to be healing quite nicely but it probably should have had a few stitches in it! When I fell in the back yard the morning of our family reunion, and broke the ulna on my left arm, I swear to this day that had my Mom's siblings and most of my cousins not been there that day, she probably would have tried to set the arm herself and not taken me to the emergency room!  I was about the only kid on our street who owned a pair of rubbers as well as knee-high rubber boots, a heavy, very warm winter coat, scarves up the yazoo, mittens, snowpants from the 30s (I grew up in the 50s so you can imagine the style of those snowpants that had belonged originally to my youngest aunt.) In the winter months, I didn't leave the house unless I had either the rubbers or boots over my shoes on, the heavy jacket, a scarf around my neck, knit hat and mittens to make the walk to our school with my neighbor's daughter and my best friend. My friend had dealt with rheumatic fever the spring of our 5th grade year and hadn't even been allowed to walk for about 3 months while recuperating. When we went back to school that fall, she was supposed to be very cautious about not catching a cold or the flu, or virtually anything. We walked about almost a mile up to our school and she wore a winter coat but it wasn't very heavy, no scarf around her neck, no boots or rubbers, no hat but she did wear mittens. I had my normal heavy-weight protective garb and which one of us do you suppose got sick? It sure wasn't my girlfriend! As my Mom grew older, she refused to go to a doctor for any type of checkups because in her mind, they were all money-grubbers and besides that, she didn't need them. She passed away 35 years ago this coming October of cancer -of the colon, liver and spleen and which we only knew about for a week prior to her death! Because of her stubbornness about doctors and such, had she only gone for a checkup now and then, the possibility the colon cancer could have been detected while still in a curative stage and thus, she could have gone on for perhaps several more years and seen what beautiful children my three were and they all could have had lots of memories of her then instead of only the oldest really knowing her as she was 12. My son at age 6 vaguely remembers her and my youngest who wasn't quite 4, has no memories of her grandmother whatsoever! I see my three grandchildren now and think how lucky I am that I have had the opportunity to know them and they, me and thank them too because I credit having them in my life for pulling me through colon cancer, 4 surgeries in the past 12 years now and two rounds with cancer, chemo and radiation because they gave me the desire then to take the treatments available and fight to recover. Wish my Mom had done that too!

And that's the truth!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Gift of Sunshine!

I don't know why it seems to be so difficult -and apparently very time-consuming to my thought processes -but I am still having lots and lots of difficulty getting enough time as well as topics to write about and keeping my blog at least semi-active. Not really that I haven't had lots of topics run through my mind and thoughts of doing posts about them, but when push came to shove, the posts got knocked out of the way.

However, today -something happened to me that I knew I absolutely had to write about this!

I got an envelope in my mailbox today with my name and address neatly and correctly printed on it and the return address at the left-hand corner told me immediately (or so I thought) that this was either an Easter card from my daughter, Mandy -probably some cute card for Grandma at Easter from Maya and Kurt maybe -but the fact that the addresses were printed and not done in cursive is what gave me that idea.

So I hurried up and opened this and inside was a card -the kind with just a cute picture on the front and inside, it was blank, made for someone to write a quick not, you know.

The picture on the top of the card was of two puppies, with one leaning toward the other one's ear, as if it were whispering some big secret message or something. Cute, very cute, for sure and yes, it appealed to the dog lover in me!

But the surprise came when I opened the card and there, printed very neatly were the following words.

     " Dear Grammy,
       I miss you very much. I can't wait to see you at Easter. I think you will like my Easter dress. we 
       all are doing very well at home and at school. I wonder if Aunt Carrie or Daddy will come 
      Easter Sunday too. On Friday, I can't believe there's a week until I come up. Hope to see you    

Oh and after her name there is a hand-drawn smile and also a heart~

What grandparent (or even a parent or aunt or uncle) wouldn't immediately melt upon reading a little message like that?

Not this one, that's for sure!

This card and the note it held from my 11-year-old granddaughter brought so much sunshine into my heart and gave me cause to smile the rest of today!

I've been looking forward very much for the past month now to Easter because the probability that Mandy, Maya and Kurtis would be coming up that weekend was pretty good. And now, unless the weather decides to get extremely unruly next weekend, they will be coming up!

And so, for the wonderful gift today of lots and lots of love and sunshine in my heart from one little card and a hand-printed note inside it, thank you my sweet little ray of sunshine, Miss Maya!

Grammy loves you to the moon and back! Along with your brother, Kurtis, and your cousin Alex! You three were the best things ever when you came into my life, you still are and always will be!

Love, love, and more love from Grammy to you! Today and always!

Monday, February 09, 2015

Getting Used to Things

Although it's now been over 18 months since Mandy and the two grandkids moved down to Middletown, apparently -judging by my mood tonight, I still haven't fully adjusted to not having them here with me.

Last week was a bit of a zoo here as we were all still adjusting to the shock of my son's house burning a week ago this past Wednesday afternoon. People were bringing boxes and bags and bags of clothes as well as kitchen goods and bedding down to my house (and probably many were taking things to Chantel's parents' home too, to help Clate and Chantel get back on their feet.

Here's a couple pictures of some of the bags and boxes brought down here -with my apologies if any of these pictures require your having to twist and turn a bit to see 'em because I'm still adjusting to my new camera and the upload process and didn't change the angle of some of these pictures in the process.

The red tall laundry basket arrived filled with all kinds of toys -used and new too -for Chantel's little girl along with two big bags of clothes for her as well!

Clate and Chantel also were offered a house near here to rent for the duration of time they may need a place -until they figure out how much insurance money they will get to use to either find another place to purchase or decide if they will have a new place built or a double-wide perhaps put on the land (2 acres) where the old house was. So that will help her little girl adjust better as for them to stay in the motel room for what may end up being a lengthy stay, it was just way too cramped for Chantel and Catrin to be there day in and day out in one small room with no where for a two-year-old to really be able to play.

The outpouring from this community as well as friends and family from afar too has, at times, really been very overwhelming for them to see how generous people really can be! People are still bringing things down to my house too and some of the things brought here really surprised me greatly too. Like today when a friend of the family showed up with a smaller bag of items along with two beautiful handmade quilts that had been done by the Women of the Forest Baptist Church about 6 miles from here. The one quilt is more just a coverlet done in blocks of a very pretty pink shade interspersed with a matching floral print and is for little Catrin's bed and the other, is a very, very heavy comforter with an inner lining that is quite think done in patches of a pale blue print and solid blue squares. One need never worry about being cold with that quilt over them, for sure!  Both quilts though absolutely gorgeous works of art!

On Friday of this past week, I kind of thought there was a possibility that Mandy and the kids might come up this weekend since the weather forecast for Friday and Saturday was relatively decent. Actually, it was almost a heat wave compared to a few days earlier this week with the temps predicted to go up into the 40s and no not-so-nice weather predicted to show up until Sunday evening.

But Friday came and went and no one showed up here. But then, around noon on Saturday I got a phone call from Mandy telling me she and the kids were on their way up then and expected to arrive here around 3 p.m. Saturday.

Since I hadn't seen them since New Year's Day, it was so nice to see all three of them again! Really, REALLY, Nice!!! And to add to that the fact that my older grandson, Alex, also showed up here Saturday afternoon and was here till about 11:30 Saturday night, really made the day complete!

The kids were so well-behaved -no squabbling at all from either of them (with the small exception being that Maya refused to eat any of the homemade beef vegetable and pasta soup I had made that day for our supper.) The reason she wouldn't even taste it was because I had put a little bit of macaroni pasta in the soup to give it a little more fill or body or whatever you care to call it! There's no accounting for her whims at mealtime sometimes!

Then today (Sunday), Mandy and the kids went up to see Uncle Clate's new abode and when they got back to the house, it was time for them to gather up their things and pack them into the car so they could get a fairly early start on their return trip home to avoid any possibility of running into any potentially nasty weather.

We said our goodbyes, hugs and kisses all around. Maya has always been pretty good with that routine but it took Kurtis a longer time to having any real displays of affection. But once he started to give hugs and kisses, it expanded greatly to now, when he comes to offer his parting he does really give great big hugs. And as he was doing that today, I told him "You really give some great hugs now, Kurtis!" His response to that was a rather quiet, subdued "I know." I followed that with my usual comments to him about how he is Gram's little sweetheart along with "I love you, Buddy" and each time he would nod his head and again say "I know!"

Just so sweet to hear him say that and to see the big, big smiles on his face then too.

And then, it was time for them to leave and I stood on the front door step, watching them pull away with both kids waving, blowing kisses and poof, they were gone.

Another visit history, ya know.

I came back inside and got a fresh cup of coffee and looked through the Sunday paper, tried to see how much of any of the three crossword puzzles in there I could fill in -not much -but just enough to make me tired.

And so, off to the computer and playing there a bit on Facebook.

As the evening wore on though, I could feel an all too familiar sense of depression seeping into me and I knew it was because as nice as this quick visit was, as much fun as I had with my daughter and my beautiful grandkids here, the void was back again and brother, I was taking a big hit of missing them then tonight!

I know they'll be up here again in about a month from now -at least that was Mandy's plan but how I wish they lived closer to me.

How I wished they still all lived here with me!

So now, it's back to the old routines I've been trying to plug into my life -doing things I usually enjoy like baking bread and also, off and on, baking a special item for a very good friend of mine who will post pictures of some kind of baked goods on my Facebook with a little subtle hint to the effect of "this sure looks good, don't you think?" which means, any possibility you will fix this and bring it to me? She knows me pretty well now as that's about the only way I do tend to bake cakes or cookies now is if I know someone wants something like that and if I can fix it for them, it makes me feel good to be doing something for someone else!

But now, I think I'll do something just for me -and go to bed!

Maybe a good nite's sleep will erase some of the longing deep inside me for my babies!

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Cheesy Whining, Part Deux

Okay, let the whining begin!

First off, if you are part of my Friend list on Facebook, you've no doubt heard me grumping a good deal about the Nextbook Tablet I purchased for myself shortly after Christmas. My main complaint with this thing is the camera installed in it, which just so happens to be a front camera and I can't figure out how to take pictures using it because it seems all I am able to photograph with it would be selfies and I absolutely loathe, abhor and despise "selfies!"

Not being blessed with photogenic traits -at least not good ones anyway -I don't like having my picture taken as it is but selfies? There is no way on God's Green Earth you will ever see a selfie of me!

So, since my formerly very easy to use and nice little camera I've had for about 4 years now quit functioning on me, and I wanted to have a means to photograph some of my recent embroidery projects as well as getting pictures of my favorite subjects -my grandkids -I had been looking for a good deal on a new digital camera.

And this past weekend I found one on sale at Walmart -on their Clearance shelf! It's a Nikon CoolPix that has a lot of things I like about a camera.

But that is where my good vibes end and the whine begins!

I got a memory card for the camera when I purchased it and tonight decided to try to upload what pictures I had taken to my computer. This is a whole new experience for me because with my "new" computer that has Windows 8.1 ya know, trying to figure out how to upload pictures from my card -well, definitely not the easy process it was with my previous little Kodak! First, I had to find the photos file -which by the way is not the same as the Pictures file with Windows 8.1 and then, once I did find that, then I couldn't find the stuff to upload the pics with! Okay after a good long period of time I finally found the photos place and also so other indicators as to how to transfer these pictures over to the computer. So far, the process of uploading about 20 pictures only took me about 90 minutes and then I wasn't sure they had even been saved because at no time did anything pop up asking me if I wanted to save them and where did i want to save them too wasn't showing up anyplace either!

You know, the more I deal with computers the more frustrated I get! They are supposed to be so much faster -that has never happened for me with any of the previous computers I've had and it definitely doesn't take place with this one I just got back in September! Slower than freaking molasses in January is how I would describe this unit and that's with having my internet on the high speed end via my cable service but speed -can't prove that by me and this unit nor with any other computers I've had relatively recently!

Cameras and convenience? Not happening here! Yes it is a neat little camera but what one has to go through to get the pictures taken over to where you can use them in any way, shape or form -anything BUT easy!

I bitched a good bit when I got the Kodak camera a few years ago because I really didn't like a lot of things about Kodak's wonderful "easy share" system as it was anything but easy for me to figure out how to get it to function properly but by the time that camera died, I had gotten fairly well accustomed to how to deal with that feature. Now, it's here we go again!

I have nothing against learning some new things but sheesh, could we please put a few more instructions in with each new computer and not just assume that it is an innate mental process that we all come with knowledge built in our brains as to how to operate a new computer? Sure wouldn't hurt to have a little bit of information available about how to use Windows 8.1 for openers and how to use this little computer too would be greatly appreciated as well.

I have the same complaint about operating instructions with my lovely little tablet too! Very sparse on the instructions of how to operate this damned gem!

And then of course, there's my standard complaints about selling the lovely stuff I try to peddle to what few customers I have acquired over the past 18 months since I went back to being an Avonlady! How it is that when I sold these products oh, about 24 to 40 years ago, I had a whole lot more customers then, but my orders in terms of sales per customer generally totaled about the same each campaign as they do today but I have a lot fewer customers now. What confuses the heck out of me though is how I made $300-400 in sales then and frequently have that size (money-wise) orders much of the time today but how much profit I make on my orders today by comparison to what I was able to earn 30 years ago -a huge difference! And one that is not to my benefit either I might add!

I love seeing my invoices from them every two weeks and they proudly print on each one of them approximately what I have "earned" with each order I have submitted. Strangely enough, somehow an order that they say I have earned around $120 ends up with me being lucky if I will clear $20 when it's all said and done! I attribute that to the costs of the demos I purchase, samples to give my customers that I purchase and of course, copies of each campaign book to hand out to my customers too and all of that comes off the top of the figure they say I have earned! So it does seem to me that it ends up being a royal pain in the arse then!

If it weren't for the fact that my customers are also mostly very good friends of mine and I decided that returning to be an Avonlady again would be a good thing for me to force me to leave the house more than once every week or two and thus, keep me from becoming a total recluse, I would very seriously consider giving this financial venture up completely! But I keep hoping one of these days things will "click" and I'll get on a better track with this stuff plus, an occasional extra $20 bucks does come in handy! But it would be a whole lot better if it was $20 extra guaranteed each week and not hit and miss as it tends to be now.

Oh well! Such is life in the fast lane of being an Avon Rep!

Now my next time sucking project I'm going to have to do is figure out how to figure out my actual income from this stuff so I can report it on my income tax this year! ARRGH! I'm going to have to file income tax now -again -on something that is far from supplying me with the kind of a little bit of extra bucks that they tout the reps earn!

Now, after spending about 2-3 hours this morning printing out invoices and draining my printer's supply of black ink, I'm going to have to get over to Walmart now and pick up another set of cartridges so I can finish printing out my damned sales, costs of demos, costs of samples, costs for bags and other trivia things one needs for this venture and also, how to calculate my mileage along with a few orders that I have that were never picked up and a few that were delivered but then, the customer decided to skip out without paying me so how to deduct that then from my earnings too ya know.

Okay that is going to be it for my whine session for today.

Let's hope (and maybe pray a bit too) that nothing else comes along to give me cause to do yet another Whine post!


Cheesy Whining Part one!

Before I actually get started with this post, let me take 10 seconds here to apologize because, yes I am whining tonight!

Okay, with that much said -a warning for you as you read this -let me get on with this post.

The first part of this post is not a whine number but a little information on what happened to me, to my family, shortly after my last post here. That was a week ago today on January 28th -a day that will be locked in my mind forever, for sure.

How's that, you ask? Well, it's because sometime after I wrote that last post -around 9:15 last Wednesday night, I had a big shock as a neighbor of my son's phoned me to tell me that my son's house was on fire!

He had an old house on the top of the hill here in our little village and yes indeed, last Wednesday night his home went up in flames! His girlfriend (Chantel) and her little two-year-old daughter (Catrin) had just moved in with him about a month ago and knowing they were there, my first concern was if they got out of the house or if they were still inside. Thankfully, the young lady who phoned me said they had gotten out and were across the road with the neighbors there. Count that as one big relief and really, the first of many blessing that came out of this whole thing!

Thankfully too that the state of Pennsylvania has a requirement for anyone who has a mortgage and that is that it is absolutely MANDATORY that the home owner carries home owners/fire insurance! And the next blessing was that my son had actually listened to me when he took out his home owners policy and had it insured at "full replacement value!"

Although the walls of the old house are still standing, and we don't know the full details that will take place with the insurance and such, I really doubt that they will try to have him "rebuild" this place. The 2nd story and the attic were completely gutted plus severe damage done to the roof too -which by the way, also happened to be a metal roof but is now pretty far gone in the damages department. So we're thinking most likely it will be determined to be a total loss.

Within a very short period of time though, my Facebook wall was going crazy with messages asking what happened, if Chantel and little Catrin were okay, were was my son (on his way home from a run he'd made earlier Wednesday to Bristol, CT) and did they need anything, any help whatsoever? By Thursday morning people began to arrive at my house bringing whatever they thought Clate and Chantel could use or would need, etc. As a result, they had many donations made early on of clothing and also, money. Both much needed commodities, ya know, since 98% of their clothes went up in smoke and he's not been able to work since last Wednesday due to trying to get things resolved with the insurance company and such.

He was by Thursday night really blown away by the prayers and donations brought to my house or to Chantel's parents' home too of so many needed items and the caring messages continued to flood in for them from friends and family from all over the place it seemed.

They have been staying at the local motel but now, they are in the process of getting situated in a rental property owned by some very good family friends and should be settled in there perhaps as early as this afternoon or evening now. Hopefully the sooner the better as little Catrin is very confused by all this and initially, not knowing, not understanding, at her young age, what had transpired, she was fussing and crying, saying "I want to go home!"

But if anyone reading this is among those who messaged me or Clate or Chantel or any other members of my family or of Chantel's family, or are friends of ours, thank you, thank you, thank you for the very generous outpouring of love and everything else -many, many prayers -and giving thanks with us that all that got hurt was the house! They will recover from that and will be forging ahead a little more each and every day.

Hopefully, things will have settled down enough by tomorrow now and Clate will then be able to go back to work which will go a long way then to assist them having a paycheck once again, for openers.

After that, it will be moving as quickly as the insurance can all be processed and so far, the adjustor has been working with them at each and every turn to see that they get all the help they need. Yes, you are -at least in my opinion -in good hands with this company!

Because of the fire, I now have a third cat here too! Chantel's big and beautiful -truly, he is gorgeous -Maine Coon TomCat (MoJo) is currently camping here as it's a lot easier for me to add another cat into the household than for them to cart him all over while they are still staying in the motel. He was pretty standoffish at first -growling and hissing at my cats and the dog and then, doing the same routine with me too. But the past couple of days he has begun to loosen up a bit with me anyway. Apparently he has figured out that my hand is the one now feeding hin and judging by the size of this boy, he's never missed much in the way of meals! I wanted to take a photo of him but haven't gotten around to doing that as yet.

But I do have a photo I can share taken of the house the morning after the fire. You can perhaps get a bit of an idea of the destruction that occurred there in this photo.

Not necessarily the best photo of the old place but hopefully, it gives some idea of what it looks like today.

And that's the end of my story about the latest event in the life and times of my family and me. This wasn't really a whine and cheese post, only slightly. Stay tuned for the next installment which shall be labeled as Cheesy Whining, Part Deux!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Here it is - over a month now since Christmas and almost a full month whizzing by as the end of January is coming up in just three more days and I am just as disorganized as ever! No changes made in that aspect of my life!

It's been quite an interesting month though, I do have to say that much for it.

The grandkids -Maya and Kurtis spent a week with me from Christmas Day until New Year's Day and that made the holiday week extra special. But it also showed me after they returned home how quiet this house is without them here and how boring it can be then too at times.

Don't get me wrong now as I have discovered since they moved 18 months ago now that there are lots of times I really enjoy the peace, quiet and solitude of living alone. Just don't care for it ALL the time. I do like the fact I can come and go as I please and not have to worry about being home in time for the school bus as the kids return home and also, I can have my very own, weird sleep schedule too -go to bed as the sun comes up if I want or hit the sack ultra early in the evening too on those rare occasions when I just don't feel like staying awake. (The drawback to retiring ultra early though is that I don't sleep through until daylight but instead seem to wake up and be unable to fall back to sleep around 1 or 2 a.m. so it doesn't work to try that avenue to maybe revamp my sleep schedule to more normal hours. Whatever they might be.)

Christmas Eve, my older grandson, Alex, was here and he, my son, Clayton and his girlfriend, Chantel and I all went to the late night service at church. My son's annual visit to our church and a move he make to try to keep peace with old Mom, ya know. It was a beautiful, candlelit service with many of my favorite Christmas carols -including the church's traditional opening song done by the church choir as they sing it a capella from the narthex and that is my personal old favorite Swedish carol, "Lyssna." Brings back so many wonderful memories to me of Christmases many years ago and hearing my grandfather sing this song. He truly had a beautiful deep bass voice and I suppose that's a big part of why I love hearing a good bass voice singing!

Saturday after Christmas, the grandkids and I were going to make a run over to Walmart but ran into a few problems getting out of town that night. When I opened the car door I noticed the dome light didn't come on and I reached in and pulled on the light switch and got nothing! Uh oh! Dead battery? After looking a little closely though I realized that when we came home from church Christmas Eve I had done something I very rarely do and that was I had left the keys in the ignition but hadn't completely turned them to the off position so that had drained the battery. I came in and called my son to have him come down and bring his jumper cables -which he did -and in about short order, he had the car running. Said the drive to Walmart (about 20 miles) should be enough to charge the battery completely but had me take the cables with me just to be on the safe side.

So off we went!

And once in Walmart, it was a bit of a struggle to keep the kids from pestering me to go to the toy department which tells me that nothing about these two has changed in that respect.

Got the few things I needed and we headed back to the house but about 2 miles from Walmart, out on Interstate 80, I heard this really loud noise and then, the car just was not handling right so I managed to get it pulled off to the side just beyond the an entrance ramp to the Interstate and tried to call my son for assistance. That's when I discovered my cellphone was dead too!

Seems I had not made the required number of calls on it in November so it needed to be reactivated but, lucky for me, it would allow me to make an emergency call to 911. And so I did that and the 911 operator connected me to the State Police and in no time at all, a state trooper pulled up behind me and together, we checked the situation on my car which it just so happened to be my right front tire had blown out! Lovely!

The trooper was kind enough to change the tire for me -put the donut on and tossed the old tire which was really gaping with the hole the blow out had made! But we made it back home and then, the next couple of days I was stewing about what to do with the tire situation. My ex-son-in-law located a used tire in the size I needed and brought it down to me but I had to take the car into the shop where he works the next day because the tire needed to be mounted. It was during that process that the son-in-law realized this tire wasn't exactly the best as it had problems with the belt separating but he said if I took it easy, it would work okay till he could locate a better tire or I got a new one.

the thought of getting a new tire was a bit of a big concern for me as of course, I was in my normal financial status -broke!

And then as suddenly as this spate of bad luck had come my way, it all got resolved through the generosity of someone I've never met in person but which whom I have communicated for several years now. This man is a minister in a Lutheran church located someplace in Southwestern Arkansas and I had met him via my interest in local history as well as family tree information as his grandparents had lived about 4 miles from where I live and he had spent a great deal of time during his summer vacations as a child with his grandparents so he knew a good bit about this area and was interested in learning more about the history and also, of his roots. Through his kindness and generosity, within a week, he had sent me a check for a lot more than I needed to purchase one tire, but instead, I was able to get four new tires on my old buggy!
Boy, it is sure amazing how nice my old car rides when it has four brand new tires on it!

As the month progressed, so did the arrival of more of the real winter weather - snow, freezing rain, sleet and very low temperatures too became the norm for this time of year. And with the cold, that brought with it another worry -will I run out of oil to run the furnace and keep the old house warm?

I thought I had applied for the fuel assistance program here but as it turned out, when I called in to see about getting fuel delivered, due to a mix-up with what the receptionist at that office had told me, apparently the fuel program folks had never received an application from me!

Wonderful, just freaking wonderful to have to putsy around trying to fill out a form online to get it accepted and approved while my fuel tank gauge was sitting almost on empty and that was pretty much the status of my checkbook too -very close to being empty!

After several hours of fighting with the online form, due to overlooking one of the rules of setting up a password for my application, and trying every freaking password I could think of to use or that I have previously used over the years, I realized that the password had to have the usual of one letter in caps, be at least 8 characters in length and contain at least one number but it also had to contain one special character too and it was that aspect -something I had never encountered previously in setting up any password -that had kept me fighting with the application. Finally got the darned form completed and submitted and waited for the approval.

Then, two days after submitting the form, I woke up that morning to find a slip in my front door from the oil company telling me they had delivered 100 gallons of fuel oil to me and that it was paid for. So I thought it was oil coming to me from the fuel assistance plan but discovered a week later when the oil delivery guy showed up again and dumped more oil -over 100 gallons - into my tank and I asked him where this came from and he said this was my delivery from the fuel assistance program! Oh really -then where did the 100 gallons I had received a week earlier come from, I asked and he said it had been ordered and paid for by an anonymous person -a friend or neighbor -and he smiled, saying apparently I have some good neighbors who really like me!

WOW! This was such a blessing to get both deliveries and now, I should be good to go with steady warmth in the house for at least 6-7 weeks, maybe even a little longer than that if I don't mess with the thermostat or if the weather doesn't get too terribly cold very often -like not dump 3 weeks solid of temperatures in the minus 18 degrees and lower -much, much lower when the wind chill factors get included such as we had last winter here!

So anyway, as a result of these events this past month, I am feeling very, very blessed, indeed! My nerves have calmed down considerably thanks to the generosity of others -some even unknown to me. And I've been busy too doing more embroidery work again since my innards aren't feeling all jumbled and tangled up and the hand holding the needle became pretty steady again.

I completed a very pretty table topper -in a diamond star shape -made with red cloth and embroidered completely with white floss. A very pretty piece, for sure. Sorry -no photos at this time because my camera isn't working so when I am able to get a new camera I'll be sure to take some pictures of that piece and post 'em. Then, with that piece done, I started another embroidery project -a table runner in red cloth and with the stitching done all in white floss too. This one is a winter church scene on each end of the piece and is also a very pretty item too!

Now I'm working on a table topper called "Matroshka" and it has two figures on each side, dressed in what I would call Russian or Polish traditional peasant garb -very colorful -and should be really cute too when it's finished.

And so, those things, plus of course, the lovely Avon orders, have been keeping me pretty much out of trouble for this month anyway.

Maybe getting back to keeping busy between baking bread, stitching and reading a book in between breaks in the other action will all serve to keep me occupied and start me moving more towards balance in my life.

It could happen, ya know!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014


I know a lot of people -virtual as well as "physical" friends -who don't just like to read but who love to read and, I consider myself to being one of those who does love to read.

The only problem I have with that is that I love to embroider too and so far, I haven't figured out a way in which I can work on my embroidery stuff and also, to read simultaneously.

So the result is that one suffers from no attention when the other takes over the spotlight.

One thing though, for sure, is if I get into reading a book and am really liking it, I have to keep reading, pushing myself to stay awake for as long as it may take (if possible) until I finish the book. Embroidery, on the other hand -well, sometimes I can manage to push myself -and my needle -up and down for fairly long periods of time, but definitely not keep going until the project is completed. To be able to do that would really be a very, very long period of insomnia, for sure!

Right now, I do have an embroidery project I should be working on however, the other day I made a purchase at Walmart of a book that I thought looked interesting. Actually, I thought it was the book daughter Mandy was reading a couple weeks ago but which she hadn't brought up with her over Thanksgiving to share it with me. And, I thought perhaps this book would make for a nice gift for Christmas for someone on my gift list.

Now my kids all know that if I buy a book to give to one of them (or even if it is intended for a non-family member) the odds that I will read the book before giving it to whoever I thought would like it are very high that as my kids say about this habit of mine, I give "second-hand" books because I read them all first.

There's a method to my madness, if you will, in doing that though. Especially on those rare occasions when I find several books that appeal to me and that I think maybe this or that person probably would like to read too, in that if I read it before giving it, it helps me determine who I think would most enjoy this book!

Well, I decided to read this particular book - "If I Stay" by Gayle Forman -and it was, for me, one of those books that I didn't want to put down until I finished it.

But this time the reason I couldn't put it down was a bit strange, even for me, because after I got started reading it, the story was very familiar to me -like I had read it before. However, if I did read it before, it is the first time I have NOT recognized that I'd already read it by simply by looking at the title and author's name nor by any of the little blurb of description about the book on the cover either!

But the more I read, the more I knew I had at least had this book at some time and had read at least half or more of it at some time but I also knew I had never finished it because when I got close to the end, it then became new territory, unexplored previously by me on one of my reading binges.

Seriously, I have never had that happen before -NEVER! I've had books that I have begun reading and not finished for one reason or another but I have always recognized the titles and authors of them upon sight of those books.

The thing is there are some books that I have read and reread several times, including two very large books -"Gone With The Wind" and "Not As A Stranger!" But the book I have read and reread several times was one I read in the 6th grade and for the next 4 years, I took that book out, again and again from the bookmobile and reread it -"Jonica's Island" by Gladys Malvern! Much as I really did (and still do) love GWTW -book and the movie -"Jonica's Island" is my all-time favorite book ever. Although it's been well over five decades that have passed now since the last time I read that book and yes, it is a young girl's type of reading material, I got the bright idea about 2-3 years ago that I'd like to get a copy of it and reread it and then, pass it along to my granddaughter, Miss Maya, who is becoming a bit of a voracious reader now too.

However, in trying to find a copy of it, all I found was information that it is long ago out of print and a copy of it now, if one were available to purchase, would run me close to $300 which is considerably out of my price range! I can only hope that someday Maya will have the good fortune of coming across this book in a library someplace and read it and fall in love with that story as much as I did, many, many years ago!

Now that I have polished off this latest book, I can  return to working on my embroidery project again until the urge to read comes over me again if I should happen to come across another book that I just can't bring myself to put down!

It would be nice if I could bring myself to pick up and finish one of a few books I have here that I started to read but have yet to finish -rare though that type are in my bookshelf. I'm thinking about the copy of "The Count of Monte Cristo" which I started to read over 11 years ago and have not yet completed reading it or "Paradise" by Toni Morrison which I have started to read at least three times now and have yet to get beyond about completing maybe half of that book! (When Oprah said, as she recommended that book for her Book Club that it was a difficult book to read, she sure just wasn't whistling Dixie there!)

Wish me luck in trying to divide my time between my two favorite things equally now! (And here's hoping those I often give books to give me some hints about books they'd like to receive too!)

Sunday, December 07, 2014

More problems? Perhaps.

As if having a computer and occasionally having it do strange things that you don't know how to counteract to correct isn't enough, in a fleeting moment of temporary insanity, I decided I needed to own a tablet!

Why, I'm not really sure now what my logic was in getting one of these things but I took the leap.

Okay, I was egged on via some pre-Black Friday sales online at Walmart. But, I think somewhere deep inside of me, I had some kind of real rationale that after several days of pondering the idea of the purchase, I broke down and made the more to purchase a Nexbook unit.

It's a 4-quad -whatever that means -with 16 GB according to the ad for this fine unit, and a 7" screen, plus other accoutrements that I don't even know for sure what the heck some of them are for.

This is definitely going to be one heck of a learning experience for me. That much, I have determined for sure in the two short days since I picked this little gem up at my local Walmart location.

And the first thing I have figured out is that I definitely need 10 new fingers! Well, at least 10 much smaller fingertips would do the trick, I think. Shifting gears all the time between the type of keyboard I need to be using is a neat learning trick in and of itself, for sure.

But let me clarify one main sticking point here as to my reasons for purchasing this thing.

It was between getting myself a new camera or a tablet and I decided on the tablet because -well, it also has a camera. So now -once again -I will be able to take pictures and post them too (maybe, if they turn out okay) and I will also be able to do Facebook and communicate possibly better when I am away from the house from time to time and therefore, unable to be accessible via e-mail or Facebook.

Hey -it seemed like a good, very viable bit of logic to me.

I struggled for several hours the first night of playing with this toy, trying to get my Facebook presence on this thing before I finally conceded defeat of that cause. Tonight though, lo and behold, I fired it up and just like that -presto, magic, ya know -there was my Facebook live and online! About an hour later, I actually managed to find the keyboard and type a status update on Facebook that "Woo Hoo. I am actually using Facebook on my new tablet."

And after that major success, I decided to stop playing with this puppy while I was still ahead in the game of learning how to use a tablet and I shut it down then.

I had planned on doing some baking tonight but unfortunately, the urge to nap overtook me and I fell asleep then in my recliner for about 3 hours or so. Now -at 2:00 a.m. -I am wide awake and this will no doubt cause me to oversleep Sunday morning and not make it to things I should be attending to -like my spiritual life, ya know.

Earlier this evening though, my younger daughter (that would be Mandy) called me and we had a very brief conversation before she had to hang up. During our fast chat though, Kurtis had something very important he wanted to share with me. And I absolutely have to share this with everyone here.

Kurtis:   "Hi Gram! Guess what? We went caroling and sang to a bunch of old ladies!"
Me: struggling to talk to him because I was totally cracking up laughing - "That's great, Kurtis!"

Kids! Gotta love their interpretation of events, don't 'cha?

I'm wondering now what the age ranges may have been of these ladies they sang to that he classified them as being "old ladies?" Wonder too if, in his mind, I made the cut?

And that pretty much sums up what's been going on here today -another rainy December day but at least today's rain was soft and didn't add to the ice cover that was on my car all day yesterday!

Oh and I just remembered something Mandy told me in our brief chat this evening as I was complaining about my fat fingers not being able to utilize the keyboard very well on this tablet.

"You need to get a Stylus, Mom!"

Alright! Good to know there is a device that will help me to use this sweet little instrument perhaps a bit easier.  Hopefully, it won't break the bank to get me one of those things cause that would then just add lots and lots more problems, wouldn't it?