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

Stamina

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.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

E is for Eat Chocolate

As in my previous post, I am working on the ABC's of Aging Artfully. I will not be stitching in alphabetic order due to the way I have the fabric on my scroll frame. I am on E today.
Ok, this is one I have a little problem with. Because even though a 50 year old menopausal woman is supposed to crave chocolate, I don't. Sweets are not something I crave except on few occasions.
With one really big exception. An exception that I can't have because the restaurant went out of business 10 years ago due to a divorce. Divorce hurts everyone, including restaurant patrons.
There was this little place called The Arizona. And they served a Kaluha chocolate chimichanga with tequilla cream sauce. I am not lying when I say this was a lick your plate kind of desert. It was a dark chocolate in a tortilla, lightly fried, served with this white cream sauce. I am getting goosebumps thinking about it.
I am sure even today I would love it. I have searched Google trying to find something similar, but I am sure it would only disappoint me even if I found it.
Here is the pic of the Eat Chocolate verse start:

On another note, today is the Daytona 500. I can't help but think about Rene. She was such a NASCAR fan. I know she is watching from her spot in heaven, but I would much rather have her here, chatting with her about the race and seeing all her wonderful stitching. Rene we love you.
You all have seen pics of my 70 year old mom. She is also a NASCAR fan. Her favorite driver is Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Her best friend Kristi, who is also her stylist and manicurist, helped her celebrate the 500 in style. She went to the supply store and told them she needed Mountain Dew/Amp Energy green nail polish (Dale's colors).
She painted her nails black and on one hand put a checkered flag and on the other put the letter "A" for Amp Energy and the number 88, Jr.'s number.
The pics are not very good (her little paralyzed hand would not cooperate) but here they are:


Mom knows how to party!
And for all my snow bound friends. It is in the low 80's here in Texas. Even though I have been sick, my dear husband took me for a ride. The daffodils (my favorite flowers) are in bloom. We will have them around for about 3 weeks before they are gone for the year. This is proof that my friend Phil was right-we will have an early spring.
I have photos for you, along with a picture of one of the roadrunners that live at the Arboretum I so dearly love to go to. I hadn't seen the roadrunners for some time and then when I did, I didn't have my camera. But my husband James got a great pic of one of them:



Now that the daffies have burst out with their sunshine yellow color, I know that bluebonnets and red bud trees are just a short time away! I love spring!
Here is to wishing all of you sunshine and chocolate! Keep on stitching!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

ABC's of Aging Artfully

"To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living." Amiel
Turning 50 has had a great effect on my life. I believe my grandson's comment "that you are halfway to 100" might have had something to do with it. Or it may be the fact that I realize my life is more than half over.
Now granted, the years left in my life are most likely going to be the best years in my life, but still facts are facts. And so is the fact that I spent 18 years growing up and going to school. And another 12 years until I was really an "adult". I think at 30 I realized what being an adult really meant.
I have started stitching again. And I think it is appropriate while I am in this reflective time in my life that I am stitching on Lizzie Kate's "The ABC's of Aging Artfully". I think it pretty much sums up where I am in my life. Joyous, free, silly, and blessed.
As with the "Time for God" piece by Lizzie Kate I stitched a while back, each verse seems to have a special meaning for me.
I will be documenting my stitching on this blog and reflecting on what I am learning about life and myself as I stitch.
I have almost finished stitching the letter "A" which starts "Amaze Yourself". Now I amaze myself all the time. I amaze myself that I am this far in my career with no real college education. I amaze myself that I raised a child on my own. I amaze myself that after 44 years I met and married the man of my dreams. I amaze myself that I have picked up my stitching again!
But what really amazes me is the fact that my sister at the age of 40 something (or 20 plus, plus something)is going back to school. All while raising a 15 year old, having a relationship and working. She has completed her associate's degree with a 4.0 (amazing) and is working on her bachelor's degree. Amazing. Something I wouldn't dream of doing and frankly don't want to do. But she does it. She is doing it. She is showing a whole group of young people that she still has it.
Here is a pic of what I have done so far. It is on 28 count Silkweaver Lugana in "Days Gone By".

So go out there and amaze yourself. I know I will!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What is it?

Ok, so the whole question is "What is it about birthdays that inspire me so?".
I have always felt my birthday was a national holiday. And meant to be celebrated for weeks. Gifts weren't important. It was about the hoopla and celebration. The confetti and princess crowns. The singing "Happy Birthday" over and over. The talking about it so much that people start running the other way when they see me.
But there is something else. I think it happened when I turned 30. But I really remember my 40th birthday the most. I had my first limo ride and spa day celebration. Changed my hair color and did the whole nine yards, complete with a new outfit.
That really started a tradition. Since then, I have always had a "birthday shirt". And a pedicure and manicure. And even if my birthday always occurs in frozen February, I had a new pair of sandals to wear on my birthday to show off my new pedicure. This year was no exception. It was a record 16 degrees out and I wore sandals. Froze myself nearly to death, but boy my feet looked GOOOOODDD!
Every year, it seems I "make over" myself on my birthday. Not really make over, but kind of "pump it back up". Seems like I reach a point just before my birthday where I slack off on the make up and the hair, well, it just doesn't have a "punch" to it.
This year I did a big change and went blond. Well, not all blond. Red undertones with major blond highlights. I thought with my red face I couldn't do blond, but girls, just let me tell you I can do blond. And do it up right.
I have bought more nail polish and make up and face creams and hair stuff in the past couple of weeks than I have all year long.
Some people throw out the old and bring in the new on New Year's. But I think I do it on my birthday.
Whatever it is, it is really nice to feel pretty again. And spoiled. And fun. And cared for. And well, blond! I think fifty suits me really well.
I have ordered some fabric and will be stitching again really soon. I will post pics as soon as I can.
Now for those of you up north with snow and ice and freezing temps, what I am about to say is not to make you feel more miserable. We even had temps in the teens with wind chills at 0 and snow, ice and sleet in the past two weeks.
But, I have to tell you, the daffodils are in bloom. The green sprigs have been out for a couple of weeks and today I saw 2 yellow blooms. I think in the next week or so they will be out for real. I will post flower pics as they bloom.
I think my buddy Phil is right. We are going to have an early spring!
Here is wishing you sunshine and daffodils!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Let the celebration begin!

Well it is officially my birthday weekend. You know I believe it is a national holiday. I also believe in celebrating for at least a week, if not more.
My husband started it all off with a beautiful brooch that I had looked at but didn't purchase for myself.

I love brooches and this one just screamed my name. He also bought a pair of earrings I will show later when I show off my new birthday shirt!
Then today I had my hair done. I had found a picture of me about 6 years ago when I had light red hair with highlights. I wanted to go back to that color.
My hairdresser went a little bolder and put quite a bit of strawberry blond highlights, so much so that my hair almost looks blond. It is so pretty! I also bought some new eye make-up and lipstick (you know you only turn 50 once!)
Here is the new me:

After we finished that, my sister's family, Mom, James and I went to a Japanese steakhouse where we watched them play with fire. It was so much fun! Here are some pics of the celebration:





All in all it was a fun day!
I will end this post with a picture of our new addition Honey:

Tuesday a friend of mine and I are having a spa party (facial, pedicure, manicure, the works!). And then on my actual birthday I have a new shirt and sandals to show off the new pedicure (even though it is supposed to be below freezing on that day).
So more celebrating is definitely on the way!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

When did this happen (and a new addition)

Ok, when or rather where, did 49 years go? I cannot possibly be turning 50. I mean, 50? Really? FIFTY!??? But after checking my driver's license and searching in vain for my birth certificate (maybe they didn't have those that long ago!), I am indeed turning 50 on February 2, whether the groundhog sees his shadow or not.
Well, if I must turn 50 I will do it in the princess style I am accustomed to.
At a spa, enjoying a facial, pedicure and manicure, along with a friend (thanks Mom and Brenda for arranging and paying for this!). We are going the evening before my birthday so that I can look fabulous on my birthday. As we all know, I must ROCK this birthday!
In the past I have done things like have a birthday bash blood drive and fundraiser for my birthday. This year I am being selfish. It is all about me. Is that terrible? Am I wrong?
If so, well, I am going to be terrible and wrong. After all, you only turn 50 once (I know, I know, you can say that same thing about every birthday year!). And 50 is special.
Now for the new addition. Many of you helped me get through the loss of my sweet Alex puppy last spring. It was extremely hard.
But I have missed having a dog in the house. So for my birthday, my dear husband was going to get me a dog. But God (and my niece Sabrina) dropped one into my life. Her name is Honey and she is a mini dachshund. She is two years old and the owner had 5 dogs and just couldn't care for them all. James is going to pay for her shots update and getting her spayed. So he is still, in a way, paying for the dog for my birthday.
She is just precious. A lap dog. And even though she has been her less than a week, she is part of the family.
May I present Honey:

The dress came with her. It took her about 20 minutes and it came off. She is not much of a poser, but we will work on that.
On another note, this week the stitching world lost a great teacher and friend. Rest in peace Sweet Rene. You were one of a kind and I am sure heaven is enjoying having you!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Let me start with a New Year's video from my family and me!
video
And if that wasn't enough fun, here are a couple of photos to make your day!


When my dad passed away 14 years ago, we realized we had very few pics of him. Because he was always behind the camera rather than in front. And while we have many, many memories of him, sometimes you just want to remember by seeing a photo.
So I made a vow to never let that happen to my family. And to make sure that my grandsons would remember the fun they had with their great grandmother, Papa James and myself, along with everyone else.
One of the best gifts my DH got me a few years ago was a Flip Video. If you are not familiar with this check out "The Flip" on Google. It is a small video camera that does a nice job, can fit in your pocket and at the end of the day, simply plugs into your computer for a simple download.
I want to wish you and your families a VERY Happy New Year. I pray this next year brings you peace and joy and lots of stitching!
Thank you for being my online friends. Each of you are very precious to me!