Friday, July 24, 2015

Well, Friday night I checked something off on my bucket list.  I got a tattoo.  For so long I have wanted one, but most of my life I have been on a blood thinner, with Coumadin being the drug of choice for most of that time.
Coumadin requires about 7 days to get out of your system and I didn't dare go that long with the possibility of having another clot form.  But this year I was put on Xarelto and that only has a day half life (which means I can stop one day).
So I stopped my blood thinner (no of course I didn't consult my doctor!  What fun would that have been?) on Thursday and got the tattoo on Friday evening and started the medicine again Friday night.
I also had to think about what I really wanted.  Then I read about the semi-colon project and I really wanted to do that type of a tattoo.  A semi-colon can be used where a sentence would normally go on, continuing on with the story.  (Read more about it here: Semi-Colon Tattoo Project). 
But I didn't want just the semi-colon.  I wanted something personal about my own story.  And I found it.  Here is a picture of my new tattoo:
I am very happy with it.  It is just perfect for me.  Just Breathe is my mantra. 
On another note, I went to the doctor today and I have lost another 5 pounds.  That brings me to 22 pounds since I started my new healthy eating program.
My primary care physician is sending me to a neurologist for numbness and pain in my arms and hands and to the rheumatologist for my generalized pain issues. 
Hopefully they can get a handle on them. 
On a plus note, I am feeling a little better.  I talked to my doctor about me filing for disability and he said he felt strongly it was the right decision.  We shall see.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Well step one in my new life is started. I filed for disability with SS today. I am waiting to hear back from my disability insurance.
Wonder which one will give me grief first?
My breathing has been much better since I started the healthy eating program.
I had gotten used to that in the past week and a half.
But yesterday and today have brought me back to reality. I am having a great deal of trouble breathing, esp. when walking. And my bp is all over the place. Very low, very high, normal.
I looked back at the past couple of days and my eating hasn't changed.
But PH is a breathing disorder and healthy eating can only do so much.
I will keep on with the plan, rest when I need to and do what I can.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I am about to admit something big.  Just be prepared.
I am scared.  I am scared not about dying but rather about living.  I am scared about what is ahead.
For the first time in 25 years I am not working.  With no hope of working.  And about to receive my last paycheck.  And have already received my last unemployment check.
For the first time in a long time I have to depend on someone else to bring in money to the house.  For the first time in a long time I won't be a big part of our finances.  I am applying for disability and have heard horror stories about how long it will take.
I am afraid maybe they won't think I am disabled.  That maybe my doctors won't code the application right and it will be denied.  That my primary care physician who is so laid back with me will be laid back with my application.
What will we do?  What will we do?  I have taken out long term disability insurance.  I have contacted them and started the process.  I have paid big money since being laid off for this insurance.  What if it was all in vain?
And if this wasn't enough to worry about, I am worried that I am no longer being seen as the strong, independent woman I was.  I am afraid I am being seen as a patient.  
I love my husband and I know without a doubt my husband loves me.  I know he would never leave me and will always be there for me.
But what does he see when he looks at me?  Does he see the vivacious, sexy (yes, James once saw me as sexy) woman I used to be or does he see me as the sick, frail woman I am becoming.  No matter how much good, healthy eating I do, truth is I am sick.  I have bad days.  Really bad days.  I breathe bad, I have a hard time walking and I have chest pain.  Here lately I have dealt with low blood pressure that has put me down.  I use a walker when I can walk and a wheel chair when we go places.
James is responsible for helping me get around.  That means he has to push me in a wheel chair when we go anyplace.  I am a big woman.  That isn't easy.
I have seen my sister struggle taking me places.  I wonder how she does it.  Sometimes I wonder if it is worth the effort to go anywhere.
I remember when my mom had her stroke.  Mom was 30 and Dad was 33.  Younger than I am now.  For all intents and purposes, Dad lost his life mate.  He became a caregiver.  No longer were decisions made by both of them.  Going places involved all planning done by him.
Daddy loved Mom.  It was 1971 when Mom had her stroke.  At that time, men didn't take on household duties, such as raising kids.  It would have been perfectly acceptable if he had put Mom in a nursing home and us in an orphanage.  It happened all the time.
He stayed.  He took care of her and of us.  He later took care of his mom.  He was a caregiver.
What I did see though was a lack of romantic love.  No more kisses in the kitchen.  No more playful tickling.  Mom was his wife, but she wasn't his WIFE.
And he had an affair early in that time when Mom was just recovering.  This isn't a secret.  Family knows about it and anyone who was around at that time knew about it.  It was short, but it was an affair.
I don't blame him a bit.  In fact I am surprised there weren't more affairs.  But Daddy being the Christian he was, he knew it was wrong.  He knew that wasn't who he was.
But seeing that in my Dad makes me wonder about my marriage.  Will there come a time when James will no longer see me as his wife and more like a patient?
James would say no way.  He will be angry to think I even have these thoughts.  But they are real.
The less I get away from the old Donna, the more I worry.  The old strong Donna.  The one that had a real job and a name in the community.  The Donna that didn't take as much as she is now, but rather gave.  The Donna that made decisions and didn't doubt them.
I know.  I will hear "turn it over to God".  And I have.  But it is so hard.  When you are in the valley it is hard to believe you will ever be on top of the mountain.
No I am not depressed.  Yes I know depression is real and I have dealt with it before.  I am not spending my days crying and all these thoughts don't consume me.
But I have them.  I think anyone who has ever dealt with an illness has had these thoughts.
So there.  I have poured my heart out.  I don't have any answers.  Time will show what will be will be.
Thank you for listening.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Today I learned that it is not a smart move to use your bare hand to grip a ceramic plate that has just been taken out of a 425 degree oven.  You now know.
Besides the lesson of how to not burn my hand, I learned something else today.
Nachos do not have to be bad for you. They do not have to be loaded with lots of chips and cheese to be satisfying.
I took about 10 baked dipper tortilla chips (it may have been even less, some were broken). I thinly sliced a piece of leftover steak (from last night) and put a sprinkling of grated Mexican cheese (about 1 1/2 tbs). Put in the oven at 425 for a few minutes. Added some sliced avocado (rather than my usual guacamole/sour cream toppings).
It was delicious and satisfying. I am a cheese LOVER and I can tell you this gave me my cheese "fix" without totally blowing my healthy eating habits.
Hmm...see I am not too old to learn new tricks!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Whew!  Been a long time since I have blogged.  But a friend suggested I do it, so here I am again.  Hopefully I will be more faithful to it than I have been.
Good news:  I AM STILL ALIVE!  And while that might sound a little dramatic, well that is who I am and how I feel.
Back when I first started blogging about having PH I wasn't sure at this time I would be alive. My breathing was horrendous, and I didn't have a good feeling about life in general.
Things have been up and down.
I went through pulmonary rehab right after my diagnosis.  I did very well and gained better breathing.  But insurance on this ran out and I stopped.  Plus I had started not doing well physically (it was winter) and I kind of gave up.
I slowly stopped the Weight Watchers and went back to old habits.  I stopped going to the YMCA to walk in the water because it became too difficult to walk to the pool, do the water stuff and walk back to the car.
Life just continued on.  My breathing got much worse.  Going from my car to the front door of my office building sometimes required 2 or 3 stops along the way.  And once I got in the building, I was so out of breath that I had to sit before continuing on to my office.
I wasn't sure which one was worse:  Winter or Summer.  Both were horrible on my breathing.
I was on FMLA and seemed like sometimes I was out more than I was in.  It was difficult to get ready in the mornings.  I would have to shower, rest, do my hair, rest, get dressed, rest.  You get the picture.  Sometimes I felt like I needed a nap after getting ready.
In November-December 2014 I started having severe chest pains.  It didn't matter if I was doing anything or not.  The doctor scheduled me in December for an echocardiogram and stress test.  We did these and really didn't find anything more than we knew already (that my pulmonary pressure was up).  They scheduled me for a heart cath on January 29th.
We started making plans for me to go out on disability soon.  My boss was retiring in March and since we had opened Carter BloodCare Central Texas together, it made sense to leave with him.
But God had different plans for me. 
On January 27th I was laid off.  Somehow I was prepared for it in some ways.  But it was still hard. 
I went on unemployment, not sure if I could work or not.  No jobs came my way, so we haven't had the chance to find out.
The biggest issue was that my health insurance ran out on the day of my departure.  I got picked up by my husband's insurance but not in time for the scheduled heart cath.  It took until February to get that going and the heart cath was scheduled in March.
Funny thing happened.  I went from being an employee at a blood bank to being a recipient of blood from a blood bank.  The first of March my breathing became extremely difficult and I had significant chest pain.  On a Sunday afternoon, an ambulance was called and I went to the hospital.
Come to find out I had an extremely low blood count that was causing the shortness of breath and chest pain.  My blood count was too low to have the heart cath scheduled the next week.  The decision was made to give me a pint of blood.  My blood count went up almost immediately.
So I was discharged from the hospital and the next week I had the cath.  Good news.  I had no blockages and other than what we expected with the higher pulmonary pressure, everything looked good.
They put me on a new medicine to help with the chest pains and almost immediately I had some relief from these.  My doctor put me on oxygen as needed.
While being unemployed I found I was bored easily.  Online shopping became both my friend and enemy.  I slept more than I wanted.  Cried off and on.  Depression would come and go.
In March we started planning a family vacation for June to San Antonio.  All of us, my sister and her family, my daughter and her family and my husband.  I thought about this vacation night and day.  We talked about it night and day.
During this time my blood pressure went up and up.  173/110 at the highest.  I had an appointment with my cardiologist June 15, but still...
The time for the vacation finally came and it was a great trip.  We all got along (pretty good with 10 people and a baby).  Besides it being hot and me having a few breathing issues due to the heat and humidity, I did pretty well. 
I went to the cardiologist the day after the vacation and my blood pressure was really up.  He increased two medications by double and told me he wanted to see me in 2 months.  If my blood pressure wasn't down by then he would add a FOURTH blood pressure medication.  He told me to continue to try to lose weight and to walk indoors as I could.
Cooking had become difficult for me.  Standing was excruciating.  Working in the kitchen was taxing.  So we had become reliant on fresh and frozen casseroles that I could stick in the oven or microwave and take out food.
About a week after the doctor's appointment a fire started under me.  I could not go on anymore blood pressure medications.  I read about sodium having an impact on bp (something no one had really ever talked to me about) and made the decision to cut my sodium.
We went to the grocery store and bought fresh foods, frozen veggies and fruits with no added sodium, and cut out take out food.  I found bringing a chair into my kitchen helped with food preparation.  We were eating delicious, healthy foods.  And fluid started coming off.  Boy did it come off.
About 4 days into the new healthy eating program I felt awful.  Tired and weak.  Took my blood pressure.  It was 80/63.  I had never had it that low.  I called the doctor's office and waited for them to call back.  My blood pressure stayed low, but a little better.
When the doctor called back we discussed my low blood pressure.  I told her about my new eating habits vs. my old eating habits. thoughts on sodium causing blood pressure issues was correct.  We had gone from taking in a TREMENDOUS amount of sodium from take out foods and frozen casseroles to very little sodium.  And with the loss of fluid I had been experiencing, my potassium was down.  That caused the low blood pressure.
I added some potassium and tried not to be too drastic with my low sodium diet.  My average bp is now 110/72 which is great.  And I have wrinkles on my feet where I have lost so much fluid I was hanging on to.  I feel better.  I haven't weighed yet, but I am sure I have lost some weight.
Now we are concentrating on portion control, lower fat, lower calories, and sodium.  I am finding new ways to cook that don't absolutely wear me out (no Julia Child).  My grill my husband got for me is getting used quite a bit.
I still don't know what is on the horizon for me.  I started the process of filing for disability, but it can be a long and difficult process.  We are cutting back on expenses until we know how that is going to go.  I am a little afraid of the financial future.
But as with everything, God will get us through it.  He always has and always will.  God is good.  ALL THE TIME!
Check back and see my progress.  I will probably start posting some of the simple recipes of the food I am making here.  Thank you for being my friends.  You have meant so much to me!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A little education

As with most of the important areas in my life, both good and bad, I believe in getting as much information as possible about the subject. I have never been afraid of asking for help, both from friends and professionals. So it shouldn't be a surprise that when I was diagnosed with PH that I would look for help. My first stop was the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA). They sent me out a packet called an envelope of hope (remember, hope is my new word for the year). It was so helpful. The first words I read were "a diagnosis of PH is not a death sentence". They talked about the fact that there were many treatments that while they don't cure PH, they certainly work to extend your life. I get a newsletter from PHA. I was interested in the following article: new PH drug . This drug is the first specifically made to treat Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension (CTEPH) which is the kind of PH I have. A decision on this drug is expected in October. You can bet if it is approved I will be the first one at my doctor's office asking about it. I was also interested in the fact that a representative from Texas in the Senate, Rep. Kevin Brady, sent a letter of support to Congress about a possible bill on PH. Bill in Congress So there is much to be excited about. On the weight front, I lost 7 pounds in the past 10+ days since I started WW again. It felt good to see the numbers going down. My goal is a total of 15 pounds by Sept. 16 when I see my doctor again. The meds continue to help me with my stamina (another key word in my vocabulary these days). I am feeling better than I have in some time. Thanks again for the continued words of support and prayers.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Hope in a jar

Each day I wash my face and put on some stuff called Hope in a Jar by philosophy. I am not sure it is doing any good, but I keep doing it. When I put on my make up I pondered over the name. Hope in a Jar. Hope. What a powerful word! Hope keeps us going each day. Hope that today will be better than yesterday. Hope that we will have lots of tomorrows. Hope in an everlasting life after this life. This year, instead of resolutions, I chose a word for the year. My word was joy. Joy, joy, joy! Joy in my heart, joy in my soul. Little did I know what this year would hold for me. I have had lots of joy and some sorrow also. But a new word has emerged. Hope. Not in a jar, but in life! Hope that I have many years ahead of me. Hope that during those years I will be alive and living, not just alive. Hope that I can enjoy everything life has. Hope that my family and I can spend time together loving each other. Hope that God has some very special plans for me. Hope and joy. Two powerful words. Combine them and all kinds of things can happen. Here is to hoping you have some joy in your life today!

Saturday, August 24, 2013


My new word for the year is Stamina. Since they told me my breathing won't get much better, I am working on my stamina. Trying to keep mobile without being dependant on oxygen. I will say the new meds have definitely helped. They are getting fluid off my heart and my lungs. The B/P meds are lowering my extremely high blood pressure and helping also. We have a plan of action to keep me going as long as we can. Exercise and a new diet plan. Get as much of this weight off as possible. Today I joined the YMCA (thanks Mom for helping me with it!) and my sister joined also. She has been a great support and I really appreciate her. They have arthritis association approved water aerobics on Monday and Wednesday evenings that I will be participating in. Getting to the pool proved to be quite a challenge. It is completely on the other side of the building from where you come in. There are not one, but two ramps you have to walk up to get to it. I will be using my walker to help me so I can sit and catch my breath if needed. And I made a meal plan. I pretty much know the WW plan like the back of my hand so I am doing what worked in the past. This weekend I will be cooking and preparing meals to take with me to work next week. And as I prepare my meals during the week, I will be freezing the leftovers to use the next week. Lots of fresh fruits and veggies. Buying fresh, not already prepared, meals is expensive. We spent over $500 for two weeks today (this includes the containers for the foods, new spices, bathroom/household stuff & a new individual blender to make smoothies in). Usually we spend around $150-$200 a week, so for two weeks with all the extras it was about $100 more. I have had great support from all my family, esp. my husband James and from my work friends, not to mention all my FB and other friends. It really helps to know I have been and continue to be prayed for. I know God has a plan for me. And I know He isn't going to let me go anywhere any time soon. This is just a left turn on my journey of life.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Wow! Cannot believe it has been 2 years since I last blogged. Boy has my life changed since then! For one, I don't stitch anymore. It got to a point where I had no more wall space and no one to give my stitching to, except maybe the occasional wedding or baby gift. And I stopped enjoying it. I got more into gardening, but since I don't have a large area to garden in I was doing my garden in pots. Not very successful, but still gave me the opportunity to play in dirt. I still work for Carter BloodCare and am now the Admin Asst. to the executive director here. I am also in charge of scheduling our mobile staff. It is a wonderful job and I really enjoy it. Facebook has been my link to "the rest of the world". And while that is fun, I really miss blogging. So here I am. Let me show you some updated photos. First is a picture of the family, minus my husband, last summer. It was a celebration of birthdays and a rare time we have everyone together, including mom.
The next one is from my birthday last year. Yes I still believe that birthdays are national holidays! I was a little "lit" in this picture. We had gone to lunch and I found a "punch" drink I really liked. Two of them and I had to have help getting out of the restaurant and then home for a little nap! LOL!
The final one is of my daughter and her family with James and I. We went to Grapevine Mills Mall for a little vacation. It was Jen's, Trent's and James' birthdays. While we were at the mall we visited Legoland and the aquarium. The night before we celebrated at a place called Magic Time Machine that has been around longer than I can remember. The waiters and waitresses dress up in costume and it is a fun place. We tried three times to get this picture right, but we just couldn't. Jen and I couldn't keep our eyes open during the flash. The drinks we are holding come out with smoke coming up (thanks to dry ice). The adult ones have a little something, something in them!
You can see my boys have really grown. Ok, so why now am I starting to blog? Well, as with everything, it starts with a life changing event. I have found in the past that blogging helps me "sort out" things and communicate my feelings with everyone. While FB is great, not everyone wants to hear what is really going on with me. This gives my friends an opportunity that if they want to read more, they can simply click a link and come here. Many of you know I have had a past history of blood clots in my lungs due to clotting disorder that I have. That has led to scar tissue in my lungs. The first one occurred 16 years ago. Being severely overweight, I have always been somewhat short of breath. But it never really affected my life. I went where I wanted, did family vacations, worked, and generally enjoyed life. Occasionally if we were at a theme park or something like that I would use an electric cart. Mostly that was just a convenience to help me keep up with everyone and not "fall out" due to my fat body doing all the walking. About two years ago, I noticed I was breathing a little heavier than usual, but figured I was just getting older. I have always fought with my weight and have tried many times to lose weight. Sometimes I have had success, but in the end I have put the weight back on. Last year, around this time, my family started a discussion about us going to New Orleans the last of November. There was a comic book convention my husband wanted to go to and it sounded like a fun time. I knew the only way I could go would be to get to a point I could walk around without having to use a wheelchair. So I started a walking program. The first time I walked around the floor of my office, I almost had a heart attack. My breathing was horrible. I made it around once. And I sounded like I was dying. But it didn't stop me. I had the support of many friends who would walk with me. I got to the point I could make 3 laps around the office without stopping, and a total of 10 laps. But I still never got to the point where my breathing was much better. The doctor ordered a walker for me. While that helped with my knees and gave me something to lean on when I stopped, I still had trouble breathing. After 4 months of continuing the walking plan, my breathing was still not much better. We went to NOLA. And we had a great time. And I walked most of the time. But it was very hard. I had to stop a lot and catch my breath. When we got back, I pretty much stopped the walking. It was just too hard. About 3-4 months ago I noticed I couldn't walk hardly any distance at all without being very short of breath. Going from my car to the door of my office building, I had to stop before I got inside the building. From that door to the elevator, again I had to stop. From the elevator to my office door, I had to stop. You get the picture. I decided I had to do something. So I went to my doctor to get permission to do water exercises. We talked about what was going on and he didn't feel it was a good idea for me to do the exercises. In fact, he said he thought my problem was pulmonary hypertension due to my past problem with blood clots and that he wanted to send me to a pulmonary specialist. And so began my journey of fear. Pulmonary Hypertension. A death sentence. No cure, and your life is cut very short. At least this is what I found on the internet. Tears, sharing this with my family and friends, more tears. I had to wait a month before I could get in to see the pulmonary specialist. A month of pure agony. Then I saw her. She said she didn't think it was PH, but rather my heart. But she wouldn't take PH off the table. She ordered a echo cardiogram. When those test results came back she said there were issues with my heart. It was stiff and the blood wasn't pumping correctly. She sent me to a cardiologist and said he would do a heart cath. She said if it was my heart they could probably give me medications to help. I breathed a sigh of relief. But still she wouldn't say I definitely didn't have PH. More waiting. A heart cath. I worried about the complications. I worried what they would find. Well, yesterday I saw the cardiologist. He said he wasn't doing a heart cath. For now. He could see what was going on from the echo. My right side of my heart is pumping at 55% efficiency and my heart is not relaxing between beats. Mild heart failure. And then those words I dreaded to hear. Pulmonary hypertension. Mild now. But still. I asked him about my life expectancy. He said, yes, my life would be cut short. But he wouldn't give me a time span. He informed me it was up to God about that. I left his office with a handful of new prescriptions to lower my blood pressure and help my heart. And he said that my breathing won't get much better and will get worse over time, I can still do pretty much what I want. Walk as long as it is comfortable. And I can do water aerobics. Just stay in the shallow end so if I get out of breath, I won't drown. LOL. So what now? Well, today is my official "pity party" day. I am allowing myself today to take it all in. Take my new medications and see if I have any side effects. Tomorrow, I pick my heavy breathing self back up and begin my life again. Enjoy every stinking moment of it, good or bad. Hug my mom. Kiss my husband. Laugh with my friends. Do mundane tasks. And never forget to tell each family member and every friend that I love them. EVERY DAY! I am made out of the same stuff that keeps my mother going even though they didn't give her much hope 40 years ago. Tough stuff. Hugs to all of you and check back here. This is where I will update my life's ups and downs. Donna

Sunday, August 21, 2011

P is for Procrastinate

It has been so #%$* hot it isn't funny. We are now at 60+ days at over 100 degrees this summer. And no rain. It is making for a very grouchy Donna (not to mention a grouchy James, a grouchy Mom and a grouchy everyone you come in contact with).
Our air conditioner went out on a Sunday afternoon about 3 or 4 weeks ago. In the few hours that Sunday morning while waiting to find out if they could repair the a/c or not it became unbearable in the house. How in the world do people who don't have central air or even a window unit make it? Luckily it was fixed later that afternoon and even though we spent the night at a local hotel, we returned to a cool house.
We also went on a vacation this summer. James and I met up with my daughter and grandsons to go to Moody Gardens in Galveston. We had a great time, despite the heat. It was my oldest grandson, Trent's 9th birthday. For his birthday I purchased surf lessons. Moody Gardens had a deal with a local surf shop. So Saturday and Sunday morning we went to the beach and watched him learn to surf. He did great! Here are a few vacation pictures:

I have done some small stitching items for babies. As I wrote in my last post (I CANNOT believe it has been 2 months since I posted last) we have had a slew of pregnancies of both current and past employees of my office. I cannot post pics because I have either given them away or they may see them on this blog.
But here is the amazing part: I have started stitching on Aging Artfully. I am working on P for Procrastinate. I think I have this one down pat. I do a great job at procrastinating as you can see from how long it took for me to start working on Aging Artfully again.
Here is a picture of my progress:

Hopefully, this is a good sign of things to come. I know I won't be out and about in this heat, so staying in the a/c and stitching sounds like a good plan.
And I leave you with the words of several songs, which hopefully will bring cooler weather: Dashing through the snow, Oh the weather outside is frightful, so let it snow, let it snow, let it snow, I'm dreaming of a White Christmas, Frosty the snowman...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

New baby stitching

Our office went for 7 years with no babies being added (except grandchildren). We had a number of young women who for various reasons did not have children.
Last December one of our newest additions to the office had an addition of her own. I got to do some stitching for her. But I really wasn't in the "mood" for stitching.
Now I have a large collection of baby items ready to stitch. I have waited for some time for my daughter to have a granddaughter for me. But that didn't happen and I don't think it will.
But when my office mate announced her pregnancy, I, of course, went out and bought more items anyway.
These past couple of months have had 3 new announcements that women who either work in the office or used to work in the office are pregnant. I am close to all 3 and one is even having twins.
And they have all admired and supported my stitching efforts. So of course, I must get busy stitching for them. They are all due somewhere between October and December.
This weekend I started and finished the cutest pair of baby shoes. I cannot show a picture because the person I am giving them to occasionally reads my blog.
While it is not a typical "baby" design, I do think they will love them. I will post a pic as soon as I can.
So here is my question for you: When you find yourself in a stitching "slump" (and we all do at some point), what brings you out of it?
For me, it is usually a new design I must have and must start immediately or if I have a reason, such as a gift or giveaway, to stitch.
It is still hotter than he double toothpicks here. I went to the store and bought sandwich meat, salad stuff, and microwave food for the next week. Heating up the oven or stove for dinner when I come home is the equivalent to losing my mind. The house doesn't cool off after that until the next morning. And I really think I am in the beginning of menopause (which I have thought about for the past 3 years) and I am having hot flashes like crazy. So since I can only take off so many articles of clothing, I try really hard to keep the house as cool as possible. LOL
Hope you are having better weather and are enjoying your summer. Here is to lots of fun stitching and no frogs!
Til next time!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

New Lizzie Kate Blog

I am sure all you Lizzie Kate fans know this but she has a new blog. LinkIt is very fun and interesting, including a post about how a pattern goes from design to finished product.
Speaking of Lizzie Kate, you may have been following (a very long time ago) my posts on my thoughts as I stitched The ABC's of Aging Artfully. Well, I am on the letter "P" which stands for Procrastinate. This is something I am very good at as is seen in the fact I haven't stitched on it in FOREVER!
Since the summer heat and drought are here in full force in Texas, I am hoping I can find time to sit my rearend down in my chair under the A/C and stitch and show all of you my progress.
It is so hot here. I mean really, this is the first of June and we have had several days all ready at 100 degrees or more. And no rain, no rain clouds, no cool anything except the Sonic ice tea with lime I have found to be a necessity to get through it all.
I hope most of you are finding better, cooler temperatures where you are and have been stitching up a storm. I miss reading your comments. I do read most of your blogs and even though I may not have commented, I still enjoy keeping up with all of my cyber friends.
Speaking of cyber friends, most of you remember Rene. I have missed her so much this past week. Not sure why, but she has been missed. I know some of you are feeling the same way.
Here is to no frogs heading your way, lots of ice tea and a whole lot of stitching!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The man of my dreams

Six years ago this Saturday, I married the man of my dreams, the one I waited my whole life for, my hunk of burning love!
This is a picture of us kissing for the first time as husband and wife. Since we got married in a Baptist church and couldn't have a first dance there at the reception, we decided to make our kiss the best. We practiced a "dip kiss".
Problem is, James didn't know I had a real wedding dress and we hadn't practiced with that slippery fabric. So when he went to dip me, I felt him slip a little. But being the man he is, he didn't drop me and the kiss went off without a hitch!
It was wonderful! Six years later I still love him, even more than I did then. Happy anniversary, James!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to all!
We had a wonderful family get together today. We went to my sister's house for lunch. My 2 nieces, future nephew in law, sister, BIL, and mom along with our furry family, my sister's dog, Gator, my niece's dog, Macy and of course our own special dog, Honey. My dear husband even had the day off (the first weekend since my birthday in February)and got to share the day with us.
We had so much fun that we forgot to take pictures along the way. Here a few we took just before the fun:

It was a very windy day, but that didn't keep Mom from sitting in the backyard all day!
Thanks to my sis for all the work she did and for having us over. So much fun!
I wish I could show you some stitching but I seem to be back in that slump.
In any event, I wish you sunshine and Easter eggs! Hope you and your family had a good Easter!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A giveaway on Amy's blog!

A new found friend, Amy, is having a great giveaway for her blogversary. Check out her blog. And oh, yeah, check out her giveaway also!

Friday, March 25, 2011

And I present...

The first roses of my garden this spring. I have a rather small yellow rose bush that has lots of thorns, but produces a yellow rose with little streaks of peach and light orange. And smells amazing.
And my other rose bush is a giant round bush that produces hundreds of small pink roses that don't have many thorns and don't really have a smell, but look so, so pretty.
Here is the first yellow rose and small pink rose of the season, with many more to come:

I always look so forward to the bluebonnets here in Texas. But we have had so little rain in the past 6 weeks or so, that I have only seen a couple here and there. Hopefully before the season is over, I will find a small patch that I can capture in a picture to last me until next year.
I plan on carrying my stitching to the arboretum or to my yard this weekend and will have a post of my latest on my ABC's (along with some thoughts from me!)
I gave up Facebook for Lent. I was spending WAAAAYYYY too much time on it. I gave it up for several reasons, and while I have missed it, I have also found I spend more time in the yard looking a birds and smelling the warm fresh air and have been going to bed earlier and getting much needed rest. It is amazing how something like Facebook steals precious time from you without you noticing.
When I go back to it, if I go back, I hope I can monitor how much time and energy I use and keep it under control. But for now, I will enjoy roses, family and stitching.
Hope this post brings you sunshine and roses.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A break from ABC's

I am not really taking a break from ABC's. Rather I am adding a new post not related to it.
Every year, the past 3 years, for my youngest grandson's birthday, we have gone to Grapevine Mills Mall Rainforest Cafe to celebrate. The kids and their mom come here to Waco and then we go up to Grapevine for his birthday.
We always take a picture in front of the Rainforest Cafe sign with James (my DH), the boys and myself. It is my main picture at the top of my blog. I have been amazed at how much it shows the boys' growth over the years.
Last year my youngest (and my tallest) grandson was just under my shoulder, a little higher than breast height on me. This year he comes up to my chin. Same photo each year, but just a little different. Soon he will be taller than me. He is 7 this year. The oldest will turn 9.
They are growing up so fast, esp. when I only see them about 3-4 times a year.
We had such a wonderful time. This year my son in law was able to join us for the first time. We rented a mini van and all rode together. We were all very tired at the end of the day, but it was a lot of fun.
Here are some photos:
James & I

Jen & Chris (acting like they were in love. LOL)

Jen & me (Wearing matching shirts. We got these for Valentine's Day, but have never seen them on each other in person)

Jen, Chris and the boys (acting silly)

And finally, the birthday boy blowing out his candle:

I am sure I will be back to stitching at the end of this weekend and will have more ABC's and insight to go along with it. But for now, I think I will play with some little boys while they are still little.
Hope you have sunshine and daffodils!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

M is for Mend Fences

Once again I have finished a verse on my ABC's of Aging Artfully by Lizzie Kate. And once again I have given thought to what the verse means to me.
Here is the letter M which stands for Mend Fences:

Mend Fences. Hmm. Forgiveness. Letting go of past hurts. Not so easy. Sometimes downright, outright hard.
One thing I have learned in this life is that you must forgive. Trust me when I say this, you must forgive.
Forgiveness, believe it or not, is not for the person or persons that hurt you. It is for you. Spending time, sometimes years, not forgiving just takes it's toll on YOU. Many times the person that hurt you has gone on with their lives, never even thinking about what they did. They are sleeping at night. Enjoying life.
But unforgiveness is eating at you. It can cause depression, bad eating habits, sleepless nights and general unhappiness.
Now I understand that sometimes things happen that cannot be forgotten. Or really, shouldn't be forgotten, such as in abuse cases. I am not asking you to forget.
I am asking you to forgive. Reach in your heart and forgive that person. Write a letter, even if you don't send it. Then let it go.
I had a really good friend. Went to school with this person. Shared lots of good times with her. But one day she betrayed my trust. Or rather threatened to betray my trust. Friendship over. I couldn't forgive her. Never mind she was doing what she thought was right. Never mind we never talked about it. I just stopped talking to her.
Until some 20+ years later I saw her in passing. I then realized she had no idea I was so angry, so unforgiving, or even why I would be. 20+ years of MY LIFE spent not forgiving someone who didn't even have a clue. MY LIFE. At that moment I forgave. And we picked up our friendship. I have enjoyed her. She remembers me when I was young, vivacious, fun! We share laughs about the past and see our children making mistakes we could keep them from if they would only listen.
But 20+ years have passed. I can't imagine where we would be in our friendship if I had just forgave her.
I have seen people who can't forgive. They are not happy people. They are always looking to make sure no one ever hurts them again. They have walls up. They are missing so much happiness.
Mend fences. Something we all need to do. Now where is that emotional hammer and nails? I am sure there is someone I need to forgive...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I is for Ignore Convention

Here is the next verse in my "ABC's for Aging Artfully". If you have been following this blog, you know that I am stitching this piece by Lizzie Kate and while doing so, giving some input on my thoughts about the verse I am on. Here is a pic of the start of Ignore Convention:

Ignore Convention or better put, Defy Convention. This has taken some thought and some research, including talking to folks who know me.

I think the poem "When I am old I shall wear purple" describes me best.

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in the slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

I think my whole life I have been "wearing purple". I have always walked a line between what society said I should do and what I wanted to do. Sometimes I crossed that line. Actually many times. But not so far over the line that I was "peculiar". I was just, well, me.
And I think that ignoring convention means also just thinking outside the box. For instance, when I started my Stitching for a Cure blog, I was thinking of a different way to fundraise for Relay For Life and for a way to include other stitchers who wanted a way to participate, but didn't know how. Thinking outside the box turned out to be a great winner for Relay.

Here is a list of some folks who ignored convention and were successful in doing so:

Guy Laliberte - reinvented the circus, making a leap from street entertainer to CEO (Cirque Du Soleil)
Coco Chanel changed the way women dress and re-defined the suntan
Ferruccio Lamborghini transformed his farm machinery company to a become a challenger brand to Ferrari
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greefield's uncompromising idealism meant a $4000 loan was all it took for Ben & Jerry's to become global players
Les Paul made the first usable, saleable electric guitar
Picasso new approach is of course another obvious example.

Countless people defy convention every day,and change the world.
So ignore convention every once in awhile and see if you can change the world in some way. I bet you will at least change your world!
Now where is my big red hat? I have earned it.