Sunday, December 31, 2017

Coughing In The New Year

It was 18 below zero the other night.   Our high temperatures are breaking the records for our low temperature.   This has been a brutal couple of weeks all over the country.   The past six weeks of burning the candle at both ends has caught up with me and I've come down with some kind of flu-like crud.   Or maybe eating sugar over the holidays is what made me vulnerable to this nasty virus.   Whatever the cause, all I have done for the past four days is cough and sleep.     Being too sick even to sew has been frustrating.

I have been spending most of my time at my fella's house but when I realized I was getting sick I came back to my own house to try to avoid passing this onto my sweetie.    This morning, though, he started to show signs of a cold.   Fingers crossed that he doesn't get the cough part of whatever this is, because those headaches return to him too easily and too often.   We will see the stroke neurologist later this week and have another MRI done and I am hoping that it will show a lot of healing.   I wonder how long it will be before we both relax a little -- I know it has not happened yet.

Although 2017 was a largely "meh" year for me, it was not a bad one for me personally until my guy's strokes.   And now I am both frustrated at that negative event of the year, which the surgeon said was caused by an error in blood thinners, but also truly grateful that things were not far worse.    I am glad to see this year go and am hoping that 2018 will bring us back into the ordinary.   At our ages, I know that is a lot to ask, but it is my new year's hope.  

I wish you the best of all things as this year ends, and hope 2018 will be gentle to all of us.  

Friday, December 15, 2017

Moving Forward

I went into November with a long list of projects to have completed by Christmas, and I started off pretty well.  I made a few pair of leggings and a scarf or two.   Life intervened and not much has gotten done since that first flurry of activity, and I'm okay with just letting a lot of it go.   Truth is, it has always been a lot more important to me to make gifts than it has been to the people receiving them, most of them have never used or even commented about the stuff afterward.  

Meanwhile -- and yes, this will sound random, but bear with me -- I recently heard an author talk about her book on infidelity.   I was only half listening because that is not an issue in my life right now, thank goodness.   But she made the comment that, when something like that happens, a couple needs to renegotiate their relationship entirely if they are going to be successful.   Even little things that they might have considered long settled -- who pays the bills, who buys the groceries -- are up for reconsideration when there has been a betrayal.   The author then said that the same reasoning applies to any betrayal, and later pointed out that her parents, Holocaust survivors, had been betrayed "by humanity" and that they, too, had needed to renegotiate their lives and their place in the world going forward.   It struck a chord with me.   I realized that my honey and I are in the process of renegotiating our places in the now less familiar world and our roles as part of a couple as a result of the "betrayal" of his stroke.    It has opened up a whole conversation for us that I think will make us feel more in control of things going forward.

And in that vein, as I renegotiate who I am and what I would like in life, I am trying to learn to be more selfish this Christmas.   I had my first quilt quilted and bound and instead of giving it away as I had planned, I am going to keep it, trying to create the cozy comfort that my soul craves these days.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Brutally Cold And Tired With A Chance Of Whining: an Indulgence

Seven degrees tonight and windy, and we're under a winter storm watch for an expected 3 to 5 inches of snow.   Need I say more?

Life has changed for both of us since my sweetie's stroke.   We were in the hospital for about a week that felt like decades, where he went from death's door to feeling well enough to just want to be home.   Once home, of course, I could see that there was, and is, still a lot of healing to do.   His strokes were in the cerebellum and occipital areas of the brain, affecting vision and balance.   The balance deficit seems, so far, to be quite mild, although he appreciates the comfort of a cane now.   The vision is more complicated, and he has lost 50-60%, the entire right field of view, in both eyes.  We understood when we brought him home that some things would be out of the question for now, things like driving and reading, and we felt fortunate.  

But I don't think we realized how taxing this has been on his body, and we are finding that he sleeps for hours and hours, remaining alert for only a few, sometimes only a couple, hours at a time.    He needs dark and quiet.   This is not a time for serious discussions, even though this is a time when serious things need to be decided.  If he does more than a little talking or visiting, the headaches - that were debilitating at the start - begin to return.    His goal now is to not take pain medication during the day, and the only way to accomplish that so far is to sleep for much of it.  His mood remains good, his nature remains sweet, and I am well aware that we dodged a lot of bullets in this event.  And although I don't always sound that way, I am grateful.

So it is truly not a time for me to indulge in whining, but for equally true, I am feeling whiney.   We have always had fun together, we enjoy many of the same things, and we just enjoy being together.  We spent virtually all of our free time together and have for several years.  When he was healthy, he didn't want to consider living together.   That's not entirely true, he sometimes mused that at a different point in our lives it would have been a good option.   We fantasized about traveling the country in a van, or a train, or an RV.   But at our ages, with our individual houses full of the evidence of those years, and with him having an unemployed, struggling adult child at home, he considered it unthinkable.   And marriage, he was very clear, was out of the question.   I was okay with that.   It meant giving up a few dreams of my own, but I was pretty much happy enough that it wasn't a big deal.  

Of slightly more concern to me was his attitude about our place in each other's family.  We both, of course, adore our own.   And I guess that for me loving and including a person's family is a part of loving that person.   He's included me for five years in every family celebration he can, and I've embraced his family.    But he has been invited to all the same of my family events and has attended few . .  what?   maybe three?    Maybe a couple more, but the emphasis is on few.   He expresses frequent frustration at not having grandchildren, but it was always clear that he had little time for my adored Grands.    And so I have always commuted, both metaphorically and physically, between his life and mine, a real-world 50 mile round trip.  I figured it was a fair trade off.   I enjoy being with him, we were not trying to merge our lives, and I made myself available for my own peeps whenever my family wanted to get together.

But now I am at his house every day and every night.  The holidays complicate things, of course, because with plans and orders made long ago, I have packages delivered at my home 45 minutes away almost daily.   And my family will be at my house the day after Christmas, where I will take my turn at hosting our dinner and celebration for siblings and nephew and all our littles.  So there is cleaning and menu planning and decorating to do.

Meanwhile, of course, I am cleaning his house, scrambling to help his kids when they run out of gas, cooking the meals, arranging doctor visits and keeping track of medications, shoveling.    None of it rocket science, none of it a problem, except that of course there is never time enough to do it all and there is no end in sight.  

Not surprisingly, I am tired and sad, and I can't share my feelings with my bestie because he needs calm and quiet right now.   I am also a little confused, I guess.   He suddenly wants the kind of relationship that he had no interest in before, and I can't help but wonder if that is something he truly wants or just his vulnerability talking.   And, as I gave these ideas up long ago, I have no idea what I want, or whether I would want it under these circumstances.

Right before the stroke, he looked at me from his hospital bed and said 'you are so beautiful.'   He is not a flowery guy and it was a surprise to hear it.  Sweet.   But later he remarked that he was so happy that he told me that when he did, and that he still remembered how I 'just glowed,' which made me question the truth of it and wonder if the occipital stroke was beginning even then.  

When he got home, on the first night, he gathered his children and announced that we were going to move in together.  I had to finally ask him whether he thought we had discussed it, since his assumption was a huge surprise to me.    It's equally clear that he never gave anyone in his life any hint that he felt that way about me; his twin told  me just a couple of months ago that she knew we were "just dating."   And when his extended family wants to know how he is or what he needs, they ask his daughter, and she gives her best answers, just as one might expect with a single father.   It's not unreasonable for them to assume that since we were "just dating," his daughter is the expert.  (As a side note, the extended family has not asked about me, and frankly, that just hurts.)   His kids have been appreciative of my help, but it's clear that they also expect it.      I've been his helper and sidekick for a very long time.   So I don't trust the truth of his new feelings, and I'm pretty sure I can't trust mine either.  

Make no mistake, despite the cautions from my siblings, this is a committed relationship for me and I have no inclination to change that.  But silly as it seems,  I also don't want my love story to read "he wasn't all that  interested and then he had a stroke and she looked really good to him."     I know that this is not a time for any big changes or discussions.  I am too tired to figure things out and too tired not to vent.  So I reckon I'll just keep driving back and forth and try not to listen to the tired talking in my head.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

It's funny, I always felt sorry for people who have to work on Thanksgiving.   But this year, sitting in an ICU room with my sweetie, I have a slightly different perspective.    I have watched today's staff loading the elevators with roasters and turkeys and pumpkin pie, laughing with their friends.   From where I am sitting today, they are looking pretty good.   For us, things have not gotten worse, and the hospital Starbucks stayed open for a couple of hours this morning.    Maybe it's good to be reminded that there is always something to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Storms of November

It has been cold here, but beautiful.   We've had snow several times, but none of it has really accumulated yet, and I am happy for that.   I love seeing it outside my windows, but driving in it is not much fun.
November is my most favorite and least favorite month.   This is the month I will turn 68, so perhaps it is no surprise that it has been filled with mixed feelings.   I am, after all, happy to be alive and healthy, but have to admit that I am not all that thrilled to be older than dirt.   Still, it seems to be the best option offered to me at the moment.
Like all months, this one has been filling up with good and not so good events.   In the good news column, I won a cute little cat-shaped needle threader from Barb at Cat Patches!    I love winning things, and this is super cute.  And since Barb and her husband are busy traveling the country in their RV, it was especially nice of her to take the time to send it.

In the Search and Rescue world, we have been called out a few times but haven't had to do much since the missing persons have been quickly, and safely found.   That is very good, but it means that our Team isn't getting much of a work out.   And when they are not busy, they tend to get needy and cranky.   Human nature, perhaps, but it makes me wonder whether our little org can survive.  Especially now that my sweetie, our group's founder, has had some health problems.  He is the glue.

He was scheduled for his surgery last week.   We live over two hours of driving away from the hospital, and they had us come down a day early for tests.   Aside from the need to pay for a hotel, it sounded like a simple plan, but between a broken CT machine and incompetent lab workers, it turned into an all-day adventure between two affiliate hospitals.   To add insult to injury, by the time we showed up on time for the surgery the next day, my honey had been, at their orders, without food or drink for 16 hours.   They let us sit for another 3 hours and then announced that the surgery had been postponed until next week.   Two days of endless waiting rooms.
Although we do understand that things happen, and they did tell us what some of those 'things' were, it was awfully frustrating.    So yesterday, a week later, we drove back down to try the whole adventure again, hoping that every step of the process will go well on the second go-round.   This time the orders have changed, and suddenly it's okay for him to drink until two hours before the surgery, making us wonder why he had to fast for so long last time.   Medical stuff is just plain annoying when it is not terrifying.

I can't help but be nervous -- even routine heart surgery is scary, especially when the heart involved is precious to you -- but I also don't want my nerves to show.   Maybe I'll plan to freak out later after I know everything is okay.   Right now I'm sitting in a hotel room, on pins and needles again, waiting to see whether the surgery will happen -- last night my honey developed a cold and chest congestion, so we are waiting to see whether they will take him today as scheduled or bump him again to some future date and have us haul our fannies back down again.    Again, he can't eat until we know what's happening.   I feel bad about eating when he can't, so I'm tucking bananas and fruit bars and nuts into my bag so that I can eat when, if, they take him to surgery.   Fortunately, we both have lots of extra padding to tide us over.  No danger of either of us wasting away over just a couple of days.

The drive down this time was a little different because this week I am driving a rental car.  This past weekend, a guy in a hurry ran a stop sign today and smashed my car as I was driving by.  And yes, there is good news there, too.   No one was hurt and it wasn't my fault, and I'm grateful on both counts!   As my sister most helpfully pointed out to me, at my age we all assume that anything that goes wrong was probably caused by some sort of senior-moment, so I admit to being a tiny bit relieved that the younger driver was the one who messed up.  The local Santa Parade was going on at the time of the accident and maybe I am secretly hoping the other driver ends up on the Naughty List, although I guess that's naughty of me.  Aside from the cost, sigh, the downside of the rental is that it is small, a Chevy Volt, which is about the size I like to drive, but I am a little concerned about the idea of my post-surgical, very tall honey getting in and out of it when he is feeling puny.

Enough of that.  On the sewing front, I made my first pair of leggings, using fabric that I already had in my stash.   Several of my peeps like to wear Lula-you-know-who leggings so I decided to try my hand at sewing a pair for one of them and she loves them.  Not only that, she actually wears them!   This was the quickest sew I've done in years, which always makes a project fun.  I'll be cutting out a few more pair this week and whipping up a few to give as Christmas gifts.  I hope the next few pair are as successful as the first pair was.
It looks like I'll be doing more embroidery, too, because my honey bought another Babylock machine for me to use while I'm at his house helping out during his recovery.    Hopefully I'll finally get some of that Christmas sewing done, although I hope his recovery is quick and smooth    I have a stack of napkins and towels to embroider, and I thought it would be fun to try some embroidered quilt blocks.

And in family news, my grandson turned into a teenager this weekend -- 13 years old, how the time has flown by!   He is still the joy of my existence, nothing is more important than family.      Family, love, health; these are the things I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving week, and every week.    

*Footnote.   Surgery is in progress.   It will be good to be able to observe this day through a rear view mirror, all the more reason to expect a happy, even if turkey-less, Thanksgiving.  :)

**Update.   Although the surgery went well, he later had two strokes and has lost the right field of vision.   It is a waiting game now, to see whether anything else happens, or whether he will stabilize and be able to go home.   Not until after Thanksgiving, though; we will spend it in the hospital,  thankful that things aren't worse.   Wishing you all the best.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sugar Fast

It looks like Fall here in Mid-Michigan, the trees are seriously starting to turn colors and the fields are dotted with orange pumpkins.  But it is hotter than blazes, with several days in a row now at and above 90 degrees.   We are not hot weather people here, and don't appreciate it much.   Even the specter of cold and ice just around the corner aren't enough to make me enjoy this much heat. It makes me think with real concern of all the people who are suffering from the recent storms and floods and fires, who don't have electricity right now, or water or basic sanitation, no matter the temperatures.  And since I am a follower of Science and a believer in climate change, I fear for all of us and believe these problems will only get worse.

But on my local front, we are fortunate, indeed.   My biggest recent problem is that I am going to a wedding, my Honey's sister is getting married, and I STILL have nothing to wear.    On an unrelated/related note, my Sweetie is having a cardiac ablation in November, and his physician asked him -- and me, as a support person -- to give up processed sugar until after the surgery.   So I have not had any intentional processed sugar since early August.   I am sure some sugar has slipped in since we do eat out from time to time, but even there we are avoiding sauces and dressings and of course, no desserts.   At home I am carefully reading labels and paring my diet to the raw essentials.   (Dry red wine, you will be happy to learn, does not contain processed sugar.  My fella doesn't drink and so normally I go months without it, but it is likely to become my greatest solace as this sugar deprivation goes on.)  

You would think I would be wasting away but alas, no.   I've lost only a few pounds, and I SWEAR, as I try on dress after dress after dress in anticipation of the coming wedding, that I am actually getting fatter.  I don't do sleeveless, I have no waistline, the litany of defects seems overwhelming lately.   So, despite my understanding that this is not a big deal and that I am fortunate indeed, these are grim times in this old gal's household.  I've bought eight, yes, 8, dresses so far, and hate them all.  I add to them every few days and try them all on every freaking morning.   I have about a week left, and more shopping time (I hate shopping) to put in before I choose the least hateful one.  And then begins the equally dreadful chore of returning the rest.    Oh how I suffer.

Other than that, thank goodness, things are just ducky.   I am sewing and volunteering and enjoying my Grands.   Truly, except when I have to dress up, life is good.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Happy Traveler

My guy friend and I took a most amazing trip into the Path of Totality last week.   Even though the drive home took an extra FOUR HOURS because of construction traffic, the eclipse was worth the trip.  But as an added bonus we got to spend several days with his youngest sister and her fiancĂ© at their home in the Path.   We spent the first couple of days visiting the Illinois State Fair, the first State Fair I'd been to in years.   I carefully examined the quilts and bags, wondering if I will ever dare to enter.   I ate a slice of deep fried cheesecake.  And I enjoyed seeing the critters, including the most beautiful steer I've ever seen, really too pretty to eat, although I suppose he will also be a lovely set of steaks.     The horses were gorgeous and I learned several things about ancient methods of 'dressing' them for battle.   The sheep and llamas were just plain fun, although it was way too hot to really appreciate their wool.  But it was a lot of fun talking to exhibitors and learned about their various areas of expertise.  There is so much to learn in this world!
The total phase of the eclipse, of course, was absolutely amazing.   Absolutely.  Amazing.  And it was a great trip.   We ate way too well, I even made my famous pancakes, with local blackberries and blueberries.  We laughed a lot, and got to chat about his sister's upcoming wedding.   The celebration will be outside by their beautiful pond, and she is planning on fall flowers and patchwork squares on every table.  She ended up adding a few tables and was feeling anxious about having to create several more mini quilts, so I offered to help.   I never got around to finishing the Solstice Blocks this year, and this sounded like an excellent reason to get back to those, so I have been happily sewing since we got back.   It's funny how much easier it is for me to find the time to sew for someone else than it is to sew for myself,  but I am enjoying this project and it will be fun to see the finished squares when we drive back down for the wedding in October.   Now I just need to find something to wear!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Northern Michigan and Home Again

I am just back from a week in Northern Michigan with my family, 3 siblings, all but one of the nieces/nephews and the whole passel of grands.   It was the usual mixed bag that family can be for me, a fair share of hurt feelings and annoyance, but overall a good trip.  There were fake mustaches and temporary tattoos.  We picked blueberries, made jewelry (and messes), roasted s'mores and saw meteors, watched the kids catch tiny fish, and ate boatloads of fudge from Mackinaw Island.    I was lonely when I got back to my empty house. 

Home again, I am at loose ends, no longer in the usual rhythm of my life. The vacation laundry is done and the bills are paid, but nothing else is falling into place yet.   I sewed one of the little purses today that I've made dozens of, only to make mistake after mistake, to the point that the purse was ruined.   I will tear it out to save the zipper, but nothing else can be salvaged, something that has never happened to me before.  But the tear-out will have to wait -- a distant friend has just called from a hospital a hundred miles away to say he is stranded after his Friday back surgery and asking if we could drive down and pick him up because he is being discharged, and so my afternoon will go the way my morning did, out of whack.

But tomorrow is another, and hopefully a better, day.  And the weather here in Mid-Michigan is glorious again today.  I have nothing to complain about.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Vacationing in Manistee

I am mid-way through a week's vacation with (a small portion of) my fella's family in Manistee, Michigan.  There are 9 of us sharing a house and we are having a lot of fun.  Manistee is on Lake Michigan, one of the loveliest of the great lakes with its sandy beaches, temperate water and rolling waves.    We found an area with lots of multicolored pebbles and collected a bag of colorful little stones and beach glass that our 'artists' plan to turn into jewelry.  There have been the usual unwelcome sunburns and mosquitoes, but otherwise the week so far has been lovely.

Our "salmon slaughter" competition was yesterday and to everyone's surprise, I 'won.'   It took a village to land my fish, with everyone on the boat pitching in to help me hold the rod and turn the reel, but that didn't stop me from accepting the top award for the day.   The first mate helped me hold the fish for the photo since my arms had turned into spaghetti by the time the fish was landed.
Each of us caught at least one fish so the trip was a definite success.
My award consisted of a medal, a salmon-colored mug created by one of the 'kids' in our group, and bragging rights for the next year.  

One of the many cooks in the group prepared the fish that night and it was, to my surprise, absolutely delicious.   He made a marinade of brown sugar, lemon juice and soy sauce and grilled it with apple wood chips.   I am not a fish eater, but this was worth changing my mind for!

Today will be more of a take-it-easy day, at least for me.   All this relaxing just wears me out!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


We have had record flooding in my area but, for no good reason, I have been spared.  Counties and homes all around me have been declared disaster areas, but not a drop of water in my basement.   Mother Nature is capricious.
Well, the part about the dry basement is not entirely true -- there WAS some water in my basement, but it came from my broken water heater and not from the storms.   My fella hooked up a new one and things are dry and warm again.  After several days without hot water, I was amazed to be reminded what a luxury it is.   We are so fortunate in so many ways that we, or at least I,  take for granted.   Having a Handy Guy is also a luxury that fills me with gratitude, by the way.  :)

Today I took my Grands to visit a Lego art exhibit at a local art museum -- what fun!   We saw dozens of 'reproductions' of paintings and sculptures, as well as a lot of original art, all made entirely of regular ol' Lego bricks.    It was quite amazing, and always fun to spend time with the Littles.

When I got home, I discovered in the mail that arrived today that I've been ordering fabric . . . again.   Oh, such pretties, five different kinds.   I really need to learn to sew well enough for these not to be a waste.  I should also probably stop buying things just because they are pretty, without any real project in mind!

My guy is also, apparently, an impulse shopper.   He decided that it would be fun for me to have a "starter" embroidery machine, although I had never used or even considered one.   Next thing I knew, I was embroidering.   And he was right, it IS fun.     The last thing I needed was another list of projects to make, but what the heck.     My mother used to say that busy hands are happy hands . . . she was wrong about almost everything else, but I'm hoping she was right about this!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Mid-Way Through the Mid-Way Month

Little bits of sewing are still going on, but I have slowed down since taking my sewing machine back upstairs where it "belongs."   When I had it downstairs on the dining table I sewed every spare minute, but my house always felt a bit cluttered, which I do not like.   I am trying to rethink the best way and place for it going forward.   Meanwhile, I've sewed more little bags for no good reason,
and I learned from Barbara at Cat Patches about a "I Found a Quilted Heart" project so I made up a few of those, too.  A great scrap buster and a fun idea, sort of like geo-caching.   The idea is to hide the hearts in public areas with a tag that invites people to post their "find" on Facebook or a website.     I think this will be fun, and I am all for anything that gives people a smile or a reason to feel hopeful about their fellow humans.

It has been beautiful here this month, and I am so glad I took the few minutes to plant flowers in my window boxes this year.  I love seeing them.   It is just too dang bad that I was too lazy to actually plant a garden, too.
My backyard has become a visiting place for a whole bunch, a murder, I believe it's called, of crows.   They start calling out to each other as soon as I go out to put fresh water in the bird bath and the crowds begin to assemble.   They quiet down when I am done, before I go back inside, and then they bathe, wash their food, and generally enjoy themselves before leaving again, my birdbath dirty again with bird debris and leftover food.  It's a nice diversion for all of us.

My sweetie surprised me a little bit ago with a no-reason Apple watch.   I was completely taken by surprise -- I would never have bought one for myself, but we are Apple folk, for sure.   The other day, as we sat side by side, we realized that, at that moment, we had 7 different devices in action between us.   The watch has been more useful than I would have expected, and receiving and answering texts is one of my favorite things about it, although being able to 'share' a heartbeat with my honey has been fun, too.   But it also  has activity circles that, in a perfect world, would close each day after beginning each morning as a small dot.   I am having the darndest time trying to figure out how to make my circles close, doing more and more each day with no success or movement of one of the circles.   My goal this weekend is to figure out what I am doing wrong so that I can have the satisfaction of a completely circular display.   
We spent last weekend on a golf course, although neither of us plays golf, because one of the families we worked with a couple years ago in search and rescue puts on an annual golf benefit for us and the other groups who helped them look for their dad.  Although their story did not have a happy ending, they are determined to bring good out of it, and they have become great champions of search and rescue as well as mental health and suicide prevention groups.  It has really touched me the way that they have channeled their pain, anger and loss into something positive for the community.   These days I appreciate reminders of the goodness of people more than I ever have before.

'Saw Wonder Woman last week -- fun! -- and going to see the Pirates movie tonight.   My guy likes movies, I like popcorn.   A match made in heaven.  :)   Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

June Already!

Another year is flying by.   It has been a gorgeous week here in Mid-Michigan.  If it weren't for the needs of nature (and especially of bug control by deep freeze) I would like to have this weather all year, low 70's with a sweet breeze.     It's bunny season in my neighborhood -- I saw 14 of them on my walk last night!
Things are generally quiet in my life, just the way I like it.   A couple of weeks ago my fella and I went to the annual Ham Radio convention in (Xenia) Ohio, "Hamvention," a rare road trip, and of course we had a good time there.  
On the way home we stopped at Tony Packo's in Toledo, a restaurant my brother recommended that was apparently made famous by Klinger on the television show "Mash."    We got lost on the way there because of a road closure, and I was really regretting suggesting this little side adventure, but when we found it, I was so glad we had gone! We tried everything.   Yes, really, pretty much everything.   It's a small menu.  They serve Chicken Paprikas (pronounced with a sort of "sh" sound on the end) that tastes almost exactly the way my family recipe tastes!  With little dumplings that were way lighter and tastier than Grandma ever made.    I was amazed, it is a dish we have never found in any restaurant anywhere, and that we have never heard pronounced that way, either, outside of our family.   I guess we don't hang with the Hungarian crowd -- my grandfather always identified himself as "Czech" and it wasn't until after he died, and I came into possession of his birth certificate and Bible, that I learned he was, in fact, Hungarian through and through.   They also served a hot chili dog that we enjoyed, and the head-exploding garlic dills we had when I was a child, and even make those little sour cream cucumber slices that my grandma used to like.   My guy preferred the hot dogs, chili and soups to the Paprikas and dill pickles, but I could have eaten those dumplings and gravy all week.   Both of us wolfed down the warm cherry strudel with ice cream, though.  Anyway, much as I love Hamvention, it is Tony Packo's that I am looking forward to on our next trip down!  
My guy is out of town this week to settle a family estate, and so I am keeping busy doing the (many) things I should have done long ago but didn't because I spend so much of my time with him (no complaints!)  I planted my pots and window boxes and weeded the garden, more or less.   I painted the front porch and created a folder that I need for Search and Rescue interviews.  I dusted and vacuumed and organized a closet.   I wasted more time than I should have, but at least I got a few things done!
My front porch has been an ongoing frustration.   I paint it every year, and every year it fades to mostly bare wood.  The past couple years I've used the paints and stains recommended by my local paint store;  this year I read reviews and tried something new.  Fingers crossed!  On the plus side, I discovered a "paint mitt" at a local dollar store, a big fuzzy mitten with a waterproof lining, and used it to paint the thin rails that surround the porch.   What a great invention!   I wore it out on the rough wood spots, and loved it so much I went back to buy more, but they were gone.  Next time, I guess, I'll have to make my own, but it will be worth it.    Maybe not life changing, exactly, but a great painting tool!  (Don't mind the dirt that's already been splashed up by the rain on the bottom rails!)
I'm trying to take a little time each day to just sit on the patio to enjoy the lilacs (finally in bloom!) and the breeze, too.  It's a nice place to have coffee in the morning if it's warm enough, or iced tea in the late afternoon.  
Although I mostly just sit and watch the bunnies, birds and squirrels, I have embroidered a little more on poor  Abigail, who is likely to be mostly neglected until it rains or snows.   She puts on a brave face.  I learned about Abigail and her equally lovely Bag Lady friends from Barb at Three Cats Ranch.
I'm still sewing, although not as fast as I should be, given the size of my stash.   Little bags and key fobs, and another top that turned out well enough to wear (although my necklines are still wonky), with many more in the works!

I think that, like anything, it's just a matter of practice, so I plan to keep at it.  Hopefully I'll have lots more to share in the weeks to come.  All I need to do is overcome my lazy nature!  

Last night I ate my supper of roasted veggies, Michigan asparagus!, with a glass of red wine, looking out at the flowers on my patio, and thought about how lucky I am.  Life is good.  I hope it is good for you, too.  And that's not just the wine talking.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Bag It

Today I am linking up for the first time to Cat Patches Bag Lady Linky Party -- I finally bought one of the adorable Chickadee Hollows' Bag Ladies of the Fat Quarters Club!   I am a much slower stitcher than Barb, though, so I will likely be working on and linking the same one every month while she makes the whole dozen of them.   I chose Abigail, partly for her name but mostly for her "quilter and fisher" mission.   Frankly, she looks like she might make some of her own clothes, too, and the ones I've been trying to make are just as wonky.
Speaking of clothes, I made a raglan shirt this week -- I am wearing it today but only because I don't plan to leave the house.   It is too big; sizing is going to be a challenge since I refuse to let anyone help and don't have a dressmaker's dummy; and my neckbands are still awful.   Oh well.
I made a kimono, too, for fun.   It might actually see the light of day, or at least the early light, when I sit with coffee once the weather gets warmer.  I can wear it over my hunter green or navy blue nighties, which I also made.  I do love the kimono fabric, a slinky navy and green, and it was fun to sew.   Both designs are from Patterns For Pirates,  one of the pdf on line stores I frequent.  My nighties were sewn from pdf patterns from Love Notions, another favorite pattern shop.
It is a gray and very gloomy day here.   I have water in the basement.   But the flowers are blooming so it is hard to begrudge the rain.   My kids have the most beautiful plants,

but even I have a few blooms today.    My 3 red tulips are blooming, the same 3 tulips that have been there since I moved in 8 years ago.   Other people's tulips spread; mine have taken a militant stand against procreation.   But the dogwood tree that I tried for 3 years to kill, thinking it was a weed tree, is blooming for the second time.   And my weeping something is in full bloom after a pitiful showing the past couple of years.

And more eggs from my chicken loving friends.
Life is good and I, for one, am trying to see it as sunny side up, and to bloom, or maybe over-bloom, where I'm planted.    Living alone as I do, it's a good thing that I crack myself up.  :)