Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!!

I miss Halloween... the first year I lived here I was still delusional, I put out lights and pumpkins, decorated, bought bags of candy... and waited...

Eleven Halloween's later I am still waiting, although I am more realistic now and no longer buy bags and bags of candy.  I bought a single bag.  I took it to work and gave it out to the adults.  It made me feel a bit better, but sadly none of them came in costume.  Unless those really are costumes?

I miss seeing the littles, and not so littles, all dressed up in their costumes.  With their bright smiling faces and their adorable little treat bags.  I miss it.  It seems like Halloween is fading away.  When my son and the twins were younger at least the neighborhood behind us was decorated and most folks trick or treated.  Now it seems, at least where I live, that very few kids dress up and trick or treat anymore.

I understand.  This crazy world is getting a bit more frightening every year.  Trunk or Treat's are growing.  Neighborhoods simply aren't the same.

I miss it.  I miss making a ghoulish dinner, maybe monster hands (made from chicken breasts) draped over a mound of bloody brains (spaghetti), served with a wicked green brew to drink and severed fingers for dessert.  I miss carving pumpkins and lighting them with tea lights, toasting the seeds for a yummy, healthy treat to serve later when the sugar rush had faded.

I miss helping the kids dress up, and considering if I will dress up too (yep, I usually did... usually as a witch - what does that say about me?) face paint and colored hair sprays. Last minute adjustments and modifications to work around the weather.

It makes me sad.

I have decorations, but somehow they don't make it out of the box.  Gator and Neeko aren't impressed by the jack o'lanterns or the howling ghosts. Grand daughter doesn't live close any longer, so she wouldn't have even seen it.

I hate that Halloween has become a lightening rod politically and religiously, the fun and silliness is gone.  Where is the hot cider?  Gingersnaps?  Spooky music?  In our quest for political correctness we are killing things that brought neighborhoods together. 

I hope that my daughter's neighborhood did what she hoped they would.  I hope there was chili, small fire pit fires, kids in costumes, laughter and fun.  And at least a few good scares to make it worth the fright. I hope that the dying off of Halloween is only in my neighborhood.  I hope that most of the country is enjoying the fun and silliness of it all.  I hope that they are remembering that it is just that... fun and silly!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What does the Man in the Moon see?

It's still raining... I love the rain, particularly during the spring and fall.  It started just after we snapped a picture of a blurry sunrise yesterday.  It was trying so hard to break through and light the day, it lost that battle. 

The steady rain feels like it is washing away so much of the yuck of the world.  Oh I know it isn't, but it sure does a great job at giving that illusion.  I wish it could was it away, I wish that it could wash away all the terrifying mess that is happening in Washington and at the state government levels.  I wish that it could wash away the darkness that seems to be seeping into so many people.  I wish...

Oh well you know what they say about wishing. All the wishing in the world won't change a thing.

Last night, I was lucky enough to see "The Man in the Moon", it was recorded live at the Independence Day celebration that Glenn Beck put on this summer in Utah.  I had wanted to go see it live.  Having seen it, I now really regret not finding a way to see it live.

What I love the most about Beck is that he does not see us as political parties, he sees us as American's.  Oh I know that there are basic differences, which actually aren't really differences at all, they are manufactured differences by people wanting to keep us all separate.  Beck simply wants us all to pull together for the good of our country, each other and ourselves.  His goal is to guide us back into being the strong, independent, freedom loving people that we are.

"The Man in the Moon" was a wonderful story, the moon's perspective of life here on earth, since the beginning of time. Many times throughout I had goosebumps and found myself contemplating what was being said in a different light.

There was a section that included a speech by President Kennedy just before we headed to the moon. I am ambivalent where Kennedy is concerned.   He was assassinated before I was born, so I have no first hand knowledge of him. Any knowledge I have has come to me through the filters of time and others memories.  Mostly I see him as a womanizer first and a President second.  That speech was amazing!  Listening to it, to our world's history being condensed into 50 years, it was eye opening and thought provoking.

I needed to see it last night, because I have been struggling with serious anger at what is going on in this country.  I don't like liars, and I really don't care for people that refuse to take responsibilities for their actions.  So needless to say, if I hear the President say one more time "I didn't know" I really think I am going to lose my mind.  Sorry when you take the oath as the leader of our land.  It is your responsibility to KNOW what is going on in your country.  Particularly if it is something that you have pushed to create. 

Watching "The Man in the Moon" last night, it kind of put it into perspective.  We've been through horrid leaders in the past, we've been through the self-serving and egotistical before.  And we've been strong enough to survive.  I hope that we are strong enough this time.  I worry that there has been too much leg work done over the past 100 years, too much undermining of the American people. But I chose to have faith.

Faith that we are still that strong, freedom loving, honest, caring, good people that started this country.  I chose to have faith that the good will over come the bad... I know that we are at our very root a country of hard working, spiritual, loving, kind and devoted people. 

I think the man in the moon is up there watching us and waiting to see if we will once again make the right choice.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Taking some back roads...

I have so many thoughts running through my head, I haven't been able to sort them out all day.  Which is why I haven't written.

Yesterday as Hubby and I were cruising the back roads here in Southern Illinois, I was soaking up true Americana.  The things that make me happy and proud to be an American.  The parts of this country that soothe my soul and make my heart sing.

Our first stop was lunch at the Farmers Inn, it was founded in 1896, Hubby's dad used to take him there when he was young.  It had closed for a couple of years, until a young couple decided that it was a community fixture and reopened it.  All I can say is that it was AMAZING!  Around here folks always say if you want good fried chicken go to Eckerts or Dandy Inn... and both of those are good... but... may I suggest heading out on 158, until you come to that lonely intersection with the old brick building.  You won't regret it!

After that fantastic lunch we headed back out until almost sundown.  I wimped out and got far to chilled to go on so we finally headed home.  That ride was so breathtaking. And humbling.  Watching the farmers out working their fields, fresh turned soil, combines churning along, the last of the corn and soy beans being gathered.  Those beautiful leaves, the smell of random fires and fireplaces.  I was envious of those clotheslines laden with bed sheets, cracking in the breeze.  I would love to have a clothesline, but with my work schedule I fear we would run out of clothing.

The broad front porches, pumpkins and hay bales decorating walks and yards.  It was slower, more peaceful, quieter.  My heart longs for that.  I am not a city girl, I don't do well with it.

I have often said how much I hate the way things are, where there are electronic babysitters filling every minute.  How we become disconnected from reality.  It is becoming more and more apparent to me that it is intentional.  The more we become disconnected from those simple things and from each other the colder we become, the less joined, the more we are simply existing. The easier we are to control and contain.  The needier we become.

As I was listening to the radio this morning, yes, it was Glenn Beck, he read a short story. That deeply touched my heart.  And it truly sums up some of the challenges that we as a nation are facing and in my opinion a large part of the cause. "If you fix the boy, the world will fix itself", this really spoke to me.  I am thankful that I was able to raise my kids where it was a bit slower.  That there weren't tons of television stations and unlimited internet.  My daughter is a lot more like me, my son is a bit more techno.  He isn't a television fan, he is definitely a computer kind of guy.  But then physics makes perfect sense to him.

I am not a fan of where this country is going.  I hate turning on the television and finding out that we have been lied to yet again.  I hate that we are allowing this to happen to us.  It worries me that we are abdicating the raising of our children to electronic gadgets and people who's beliefs are not at all in line with our own.

I long for a simpler time, maybe that is why I do so many of the things I do.  Simpler didn't mean that you didn't work hard, because you did.  But things had meaning.  I don't waste things that I have grown with my own two hands.  I take great care of the socks I knit, I know the time I put into them, it gives them value.  A quilt on the bed is far more comforting when you have made it with love.  Oreo's are mindlessly consumed,  home baked cookies are savored and enjoyed. Hand made soap is treasured and used to the last bit.

I am not alone in this pursuit.  I have many friends that feel the same. We speak the same language. I think we need more people speaking that language.  More folks willing to slow down and take a few more back roads to get to the place they need to be.

When you slow down you have the time to see people and their needs.  You have time to feel the feelings of those around  you and your place in that.   Before we started disconnecting from human interaction we used to take time to care more, feel more, help more...

Glenn might be on to something... take care of the child... the world will take care of itself...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Time Marches On...

Bundled up 60 is a bit chilly
Looking down at my computer, trying to stay awake as my Cardinals battle it out for a win in this World Series, I noticed the date.  In a few short hours my ex-husband will be 50! I don't know he feels about it... we are still "friends" but rarely do we ever talk, now that the kids are grown a weekly conversation is something he can have with them.

I am honestly wondering what it means to me?  I met him when I was just 13 and he was 15, 50 seemed so very old back then. Our parents weren't even 50. Gray hair, aches and worrying about retirement seemed a million years away.  Back then the biggest worries were acne, break ups and finals. 

We grew up together and in the process we grew apart.  Over 12 years ago all those bits and pieces that seemed like a life appeared to fall apart.  They didn't fall apart! They fell into the lives that they were meant to be in.  He fell in love and married the love of his life, he will be 50 tomorrow and I am pretty sure his youngest is about three.  I am so very happy for him. And equally glad that isn't my life!!

He gave me the greatest gift ever when he left.  I still kept my friend that I had grown up with, my kids kept their dad that they loved and adored.  And I found me!  I found my husband that I love and adore, I started living.  I found true happiness!

50 doesn't seem so old now... I will sneak up on it soon.  Hubby was older than that when I moved here.  He isn't old. 

Looking back at 13 from here, it's amazing, I am nothing like the girl I was.  I didn't grow up to be much like her at all.  I am braver than she was.  I enjoy life, it took me a long time to get here. 

My sweet hubby and I spent the day in the sunshine buzzing around town and country side on our Harley.  Cherishing the time together and enjoy the beautiful colors of fall.  We stopped for a wonderful lunch at our favorite Greek restaurant. And then stopped in an Irish bar for a good German beer on tap (for me - he had a coke as he was driving!). It was an international tour all in a 30 mile radius.
Gyro's? Why Yes!
This morning as I was making soap and working on hats while talking to hubby and watching a program together I couldn't help but love my life!  Tonight as we watched the game together, before he fell asleep, I noticed a post on Facebook about all the great guys and where they might be hiding.  I can tell you where one is... here with me.  I am pretty sure that my ex's wife would say the same about her hubby.  I don't believe that the good ones are sitting around on a shelf waiting for someone to grab them.  I believe they are all around us, waiting for the right person to make a whole with. My ex and I were great friends, my hubby and I are simply great together....

First batch of Tea Tree Soap

Supplies mixed in with my life...
I hope my ex has a wonderful 50th tomorrow... I will be waiting for my turn to cross that threshold.  It's just a number, but the older I get the more precious and complete my life feels.  So much to be thankful for... 15 years ago, I could not see a future... it simply wasn't there.  I found it just about 12 years ago... and it's bright, beautiful and makes me so very happy!

Find your other half and age becomes simply a number....

Homemade Love

beautiful fabrics created from yarn
Busy weekend planned and I wake up with a stuffy head and headache?  What a cruel trick... Hopefully some allergy medicine will knock it out and it will get better, because the stuff planned has to happen regardless!

I picked up the coconut oil and olive oil last night for soaps, I cannot wait to smell the scent of the tea tree as it cures.  It is by far my favorite!  I will also be making a lavender and possibly a clean cotton.  I am not sure.  It's time to start stockpiling them again.  All of those won't happen today, I don't think I have enough molds.  But there is always tomorrow...

I am down to the last three hats that I have orders for and one is already over half way done.  Then I want to make myself one... it's getting cold outside!  And I sold the one that I wanted the most.  I almost didn't put it out, but I was so worried I would not have enough that I did.  I must have been right about it being pretty, because it was one of the first ones sold.

After I finish these last few, it will be time to put away the crochet hooks for a bit and get out the knitting needles.  It will be time to make some wristers.  I have a beautiful pattern that I love and made so many of last year.  Time to get going on them.  I actually have orders for three pair of them already too.

I am never going to get rich or retire off of the silly little amount of items I am able to create with these two hands but I cannot tell you how much I love the feeling when someone wants a hat or something I have made and they love it!  I am not good with compliments, I have never learned to take them well.  They embarrass me.  But I sure do love that feeling! I really love it when I see folks wearing them, snuggling in them, or telling me how much they love my soaps or something like that.

I hate to shop, but will spend hours shopping at a craft show or from local vendors that have created something with their own two hands.  The coat I love so very much... Hubby had that made for me.  It's the only one there is that is exactly like it.  It's the same way with the stuff I make.  They will all be similar if you want several the same, but none will be identical.  I am human, not a machine and it is reflected in my work.

Unless there is a specific tool I am wanting, for example a long-arm or spinning wheel, the greatest gift in the world to me is something made with your own two hands.  I understand that not everyone can sew, knit, crochet, wood work, etc... but each of us has a talent a gift that we can give from the heart.

Do you dry herbs, make candles, quilt, cook, draw, paint, or doodle?  Are you amazing at organizing, yard work, landscaping?  Can you paint a room?  Or have crazy carpentry or automotive skills?  Are you a party planner or dog groomer extraordinaire? I am pretty sure a gift that is as simple as an I.O.U (that is followed up on) for the gift of your time at a future date would be cherished!  Either offering to do the task or teach someone how!

As we are heading into the holiday season, I am pondering my gift list.  What will I give to the people I love and care about?  Last year most of my sisters decided that our family had gotten too large to give gifts to all, and I haven't heard about plans for this year. I am not going to be the odd duck out and mess everyone up again.  So I have scaled back my list.

It is important to me to give gifts from the heart.  I know that most of my hats and other items are destined to be that also. I was so excited to read that my Aunt in Colorado had bought the stuff to start making her gift list.  I was a bit concerned that I was the only slightly looney one in the family!  It was so awesome to realize it is probably hereditary!

Well dear friends, it is time to take my stuffy head and get busy... that soap won't make itself, the darn beans refuse to jump into the crock-pot on their own and I seem to have failed witchcraft 101, because that crochet hook hasn't moved an inch since I started writing today...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Compassion is from the heart...

Have you ever had a week that was so busy and full that it flew by?  This is sort of one of those weeks.  I cannot believe it is Friday.  My "plate" has been overwhelmingly full, and strangely most of it has already gotten done. 

I am thankful that tomorrow is almost here, I have things planned,  but it is simply stuff that fills my soul with peace and calms me.  You know, a quilt to quilt, soap to make, maybe some curtains to sew and hats to crochet.  I am almost done with my special orders after all. Three and a half left to go just in time for some seriously chilly weather.

This week has been a week that has been wrought with strong emotions, dealing with difficult situations (which evidently aren't finished yet - yep that 5:12 am call to the Lifeguard supervisor was not fun....), amazingly joyful times and incredibly shocking ones.  It has been a complete emotional roller coaster. 

I feel drawn to offer stronger support to all those that surround me.  So many have hearts that are hurting and needs that aren't being met.

We attended our associations 160th birthday party this week.  I am part of the group that arranged for it, so my attendance was mandatory.  I had mixed feelings about it.  I am pretty honest with anyone about my feelings towards the entitled mentality.  And I had not quite understood what our partner organization for the event was doing.  I am so excited now to offer my full support to Operation Food Search!

In fact, I am going to be putting a lot more into their bin that sits in my lobby before Thanksgiving.

I understand that there are many people out there that need help, that life is beating them up and there does not seem to be anyone that is throwing them a lifeline.  Sadly those are not the ones that are benefiting from all the government assistance and aid.  For whatever reason, they simply cannot get the help they desperately need. I have seen first hand the folks that make just $10 a month too much and are not able to get any additional resources.  Or they own property and therefore don't qualify.  Or maybe it is simply their pride, that they still hold on to that feeling of shame for needing help.  Whatever the reason there are many that are suffering.

Equally sadly, there are many that make an absolute career out of working the system.  They don't get up and search for a job, they keep having children so they don't lose their benefits, they sell their "food stamps" - some getting so bold as to sell them on Craig's List.  These are the ones that refuse to be part of any solution and sit there with their hands out, they have learned to work the systems and they are proud of it. 

I am a firm believer that a community helps their community.  I believe that the government assistance is what has led to the decline of neighborhoods and friends lending a helping hand.  And I will not support any programs that take government assistance to "change" lives.  So I wasn't a huge fan of Operation Food Search, I was under the mistaken assumption that they were simply another one of "those" organizations.

To my delight, I learned of all the good they do, all they belly's they fill, all the meals, snacks and nutritious food they provide.   I was so filled with joy and a desire to help when I heard their Chairman speak.  They do everything through private donations, they keep food pantries full, provide thousands of "back pack" meals to kids and their families over weekends that simply might not have anything.  It was so inspiring.

I don't believe anyone should do without, but I firmly believe that everyone should be doing their very best and working their very hardest to have what they need. It's a difficult task for me to align my personal feelings sometimes with what I am surrounded with on a daily basis. 

I am thinking that folks that don't know me assume I want people to suffer, or that I don't have empathy,  and that I won't reach out a helping hand. 

They would be very wrong on that.  I will do anything in this world for those that are doing for themselves.  I probably won't part with my beloved winter coat (hubby had it custom made for me and I love it), but I will get you one of your own.  I will give a hat to someone that needs it, gloves too.  Although before I will, you must be doing something for yourself.

Hubby and I even practically gave a truck to one of his employees a long time ago, we sold it for next to nothing and took payments for a long time to help this kid out... sadly... he used it to steal from the very company that employed him... but that is another story.

Don't give me a sob story and tell me I owe you anything.  Because I don't.  We all have the same rights, each of us are allowed life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  But nowhere at all does it say I have to give what I work hard for to you if I don't want to.  That is what makes the giving sweet.  That people want to give and that the gift be received with graciousness and gratitude.  Not because it is owed.

As the week wraps up, and I am planning all of the things that I will do this weekend to help my own family's budget line.  I am also planning how I am going to support a worthwhile organization.  A group that aligns with my beliefs.  Oh I know there are people that take advantage, there always are.  Yet, they are willing to help out of compassion, concern and caring... well those are things I can wrap my arms and heart around.

I seem to be doing a lot of ranting and raving lately... This is more of a shout out to a great group of folks.  People that understand they might be having to help those that feel entitled, but are still doing it because of that child with a parent or parents that aren't able (whether on purpose or not). Because of the seniors or the family that has fallen on hard times.  Or the veterans, simply any in need.

That small group of people with their joyous acceptance of our meager donation reminded me of the goodness and generosity of the American people, when we are allowed to give of our own free will and not have it demanded of us.

We the People are amazing!!  And we will always help our fellow man... So my question on this Friday, is how are you helping someone this weekend?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sometimes change is good...

As Autumn starts rolling in there is some serious change in the air.  Leaves are falling, the chill is biting at finger tips and toes.  It truly is my favorite time of the year.  Most people think of winter as their "gotta survive it" time of year... for me that is summer.

The change in the air is very pervasive.  It isn't just confined to the weather.  I know so many people right now that are struggling with new realities.  Job changes, job losses, new jobs, looking for jobs, life changes... just so much. 

Change isn't always bad... although sometimes it seems it at the time.  I have seen the excitement in the eyes of a friend that is starting a new path, college and a huge career change.  You can feel her joy and excitement.  It's a huge life change for her and she is jumping into it with both feet.

Other people I know and love are finding themselves unexpectedly unemployed.  Those changes are harder to face.  They leave you with a mixed bag of feelings.  Particularly when you loved what you were doing.  Those friends will be in my prayers as they find their way navigating the changes and searching for a new path to follow.  At some point they too will find the change ultimately is good for them.  It usually is.  But the getting there will be more painful and twisted for them. 

For me, there are many changes, but they feel good.  I feel grounded in my world right now.  Maybe it was the week off, maybe it is internal growth.  I don't know, but I am going to take it.

Last night sitting and watching B working on her quilt (sorry can't post pictures - it's a surprise) the look of joy and excitement on her face was so amazing.  She kept repeating over and over that she never thought she would be quilting.  Change is good. 

Watching S, oh my goodness, the change in her is amazing.  She patiently worked with B while I was out of the room for a bit.  Helping her to learn how to thread her machine, encouraging her, gently guiding her.  I keep hearing her voice in my head, I could never teach anyone to quilt, and then I see her doing just that.  Her kind and gentle ways echoing through her words and actions.  She is a natural.  I was so loving the change in her! She is amazing!

I have many amazing people in my life.  I love watching the changes around me. Most of them...

Yep... Change is good!

Monday, October 21, 2013

What is happening?

Is it only me or do the weekends seem to fly by at the speed of light? Hubby and I usually have so much we want to accomplish on the weekend, things that we simply do not have time to even think about over the course of the week.  And it seems like squeezing all of that in, means very little down time. 

Yesterday we had to go and do our grocery shopping for the week.  We had planned on it for Saturday, but the day got away from us.  We blinked and it ran for the hills.  So yesterday was catch up day.  Hubby cleaned the kitchen and cooked, so I could work on all the orders I have for hats.  At some point we had to go shopping.  We stalled, put it off, got creative... everything we could think of... it finally came down to it, we simply had to go. 

With great reluctance we chose Walmart, uggghhh I hate that store! Unfortunately in our area it is the only store that carries the dog food my boys like, and since I had to go anyhow... It seemed everyone in the city had the same idea.  It was crazy busy.

As I was looking at my grocery list, hoping to find everything I needed and still have a few dollars left I realized something.  We should all be very, very worried.  Long ago I had quit shopping at Schnucks, they were crazy expensive, and I couldn't make my dollars stretch far enough when we still had a houseful of kids. I usually shop at Aldi's, it works with my personal mindset of less is more.  I am okay with bagging my own stuff and bringing my own bags when it saves me money and is better for the environment.

Walmart it was.... First stop produce, it is apple season, and I am a huge fan of buying in season.  I figured they would be less costly and fresher.  Oh, they are fresh and crisp and perfect... a small bag, not even large enough to make a full pie cost $4.95... what???  It seems just last year they were only $2.50 a bag.  That is double.  We won't be having a lot of fresh apples this year.  And I will dry them out before I will let them get mushy that's for sure.

It seemed that everything I picked up had risen, almost to double.  I had found a wonderful recipe for sweet potato soup with bacon.  It looked so good and I really wanted to make it for hubby and I.  Well, no sweet potatoes and the bacon... well lets just say I almost fainted.  The small package I used to buy for less than $5, and it was pricey at that - a treat, was $8.95. 

Are we sleeping?  How are we missing the fact that everything is costing us so much more?  I am hating that I didn't have the time to get a full garden planted this year around the weather.  That won't be happening again!  Hubby and I are going to find the time to get my green house built this fall, it simply has to happen.

How much higher is it going to go?  I am concerned for our country.  I worry.  Is it only here in the mid-west? I simply don't get it.  I make no secret of the fact that I like Glenn Beck and listen to The Blaze, for years he's been warning about this. I really thought the man was a nut about the inflation, I thought he was being a bit of a fear monger, I mean really?  A nickle or dime more for milk, eggs and basics wasn't so bad.  I mean after all look at the difference since the 50's.  Those aren't nickles and dimes, those are dollars.  Lots of dollars.  In less than a years time...

I can't change it. I have to learn how to live with it.  This is not what I expected after a life time of working hard, I really figured I would be able to not pinch pennies by now.  Guess not.  I think the part that made me the most concerned, was watching the people in line with tons of name brands (the stuff that I wouldn't consider putting in my cart too expensive), things that really don't contain much real food, etc and they were paying with their EBT card. 

I am all for lending helping hands, I don't want anyone to go without the basics, but I am struggling to make my ends meet and my hubby and I work long hours.  I am feeling a great deal of frustration right now.  My taxes keep going up, my health insurance is costing me more each year, I spend hours making hats and other items to make a little extra so we can have a good life.  And the person in line in front of me was wearing designer clothing, buying all the name brands and got picked up at the door in their Cadillac Escalade.  And they paid for it all with an EBT card and WIC.  I guess I should feel better about the fact that they were shopping at Walmart so that those dollars bought more of the good stuff.

I am not a selfish or envious person.  But seriously?  It is supposed to be a hand up, not a career option.  I am struggling with where our country is heading.  Groceries are going higher everyday, just got the notice that my water and sewer has gone up (it's that time of year again -  seriously that is what the letter said), my mortgage insurance has gone up again, and no one else notices this in their own world?  Is it only in this area?

Will the day come that we are the Wiemar Republic?  Will we need a wheelbarrow full of money just to buy a loaf for bread?  Will our dollars be worth so little?

I believe in personal responsibility... I think we are abdicating that in this country... YIKES!  I am completely struggling with this.  Today... I think it needs to go to God in prayer, whatever will happen will happen.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Friends, Fun and Fires...

Bonfire and moon... what a couple!
Someone turned the heat off.  Earlier in the week it was almost too warm to be classified as October, much less Autumn.  Yesterday... did not measure up to those incredibly warm days that are now rapidly forgotten.  As I grudgingly agreed that the heat needed turned on, at least to 65, my fingers freezing and toes slightly tinged blue.  I couldn't help but marvel at the way nature rapidly changes our world.

I personally love the cooler, ok - cold, weather.  A few of my joints disagree with me, but who is going to listen to those?  I mean seriously!  If I listened to aches and pains, I would have quit life back in 1997.

The rain of yesterday morning, gave way to a beautiful Autumn day.  The picnic was so much fun, if a little cold under the pavilion with the sun blocked and those silly breezes (yeah lets call them breezes).  I was just grateful for my wristers that I had brought - decided I need a pair in alpaca (light and super warm) as my hands were able to stay warm even if the rest of me wasn't.

Hubby had volunteered to call bingo, silly me thought I was going to play.  But bingo calling really is a tag team sport, someone had to protect all those silly tiny balls from those "breezes"... It was great fun!  Sure maybe after an hour of freezing we weren't exactly playing "regulation" bingo, but who cares?  There were tons of prizes and everyone was having a blast.  And isn't that what it is really about?

We ended up staying later than we planned, visiting with friends and co-workers we don't see often.  Hubby even won a great prize!  A weekend at Trout Lodge - how fun is that?  It's beautiful down there and we love to spend time there.

As the sun was setting we headed down out to our friend's pig roast and bonfire.  Wow!  That is all I can say about that!  WOW!  It was almost a two hour drive, but worth every minute.  I have never been to a bonfire that requires a bob cat to stir the embers and load the logs (umm... maybe I mean the trees).  There was a hayride, more food than you can even begin to imagine, pups running everywhere, a bounce house for the kids, it was simply a great time.

We met some super people, and Brian is such a gracious person and amazing host that even though I knew so few people I didn't feel like an outsider.  In fact that was a group of people I fit right in with. I guess my country heart felt at home.

I would have loved to see his place in the daylight, we will have to make another trip back. I can tell you under that super bright moon, lit by a fire and lights, it was quite a sight to behold!  I understand why he runs out there every chance he gets.  I would too, 160 acres in the middle of nowhere is pretty darn spectacular!

Driving hubby home last night, I was singing off key to my favorite country songs, absorbing the beauty of the moon and stars and thinking about what a great day it had ended up being!

Sarah came by in the morning, it was the first time I personally had socialized with her outside of work, she is a delightful person!  And even the awkwardness of the past didn't bother me.  I enjoyed having her visit (and we all know I am not that sociable).

Followed by a great afternoon with one of my "b's" (yes I noticed the other was missing... we shall have to talk about that missy), friends that I don't see often and lots of pups.  Then on to the fun of standing around a HUGE bonfire with so many folks that were like me, sharing my values and the things I hold dear. Watching hubby have a great time and enjoy a few nice cold beers, loving on even more pups. 

Ending back at home as Sunday crept quietly into the length of the day... snuggled up with my pups who had missed me... it was an amazing, wonderful, friend filled day!

Wonder what joy today has in store?  I am sure there is plenty!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Rainy, Sunny Autumn Days

Today reads just like the setting for a dime story novel.  It was a cold and dreary day.  The perfect kind of day for a roaring fire and hot coffee...

It is a cold, wet and dreary day.  Fall feels like it arrived over night with the intention of digging in it's heels and staying this time.  It's the curl up with hot coffee and a homemade quilt kind of day.  Sadly that is not to be. 

I only have a bit more me time today before I need to get with it.  It's the company picnic today, and while I am not the joiner and didn't volunteer to help.  Hubby is a far nicer person than I am and he did.  I am okay being that background person, you know the supporting player.  Hubby prefers a more starring role.  I am okay with it, but I sure wasn't planning to go for very long this year. 

It was a great time last year, but we had our Ava.  A family event without any "family" except each other is kind of strange. We won't be there the whole time, which is good, I don't know as they came up with a "rain" plan.  And I don't know if the rain is going to stop.  It's a beautiful park with lots of wide open spaces.  Not so many covered ones though.  Hubby is going to call bingo - think I will try my luck at winning a round.

Then we are heading to a friend of hubby's farm.  For a good old fashioned pig roast.  I've been to them in Europe, a long time ago.  Not really sure how my grown up self feels about this.  I am well aware of where my food comes from.  It is one of the reasons that I was a vegetarian for so long.  This could be the breaking straw for me again to become a vegetarian.  We'll see...

It will be fun, except for that cold, wet rain that keeps calling me to be inside curled up dry and warm....

I promise I am not a hermit, nor am I anti-social... but I do crave the peace and comfort of home and my family.  I am sure it has to do with the fact that this week has been very stressful (not really in a bad way, but in an over loaded way)  I only got out of work at a reasonable time one night.  And 4:30 pm when you arrived at 7:00 am isn't really reasonable. I am sure that is what is beckoning me to my home. 

Today would be a great day for a big pot of homemade chicken soup and fresh from the oven bread.  Hot coffee and tea and some good old fashioned down time.  Today would be an amazing day for that. 

As I went to grab my camera to snap a picture, I noticed that the sun is pushing those clouds away, maybe, just maybe it is going to be a beautiful day after all! 

Friday, October 18, 2013

For the love of B's

Yesterday I didn't write, I simply couldn't bring myself to write two rants in a week.  How depressing!  I was struggling heavily with stuff at work, things that made me sad and hurt my heart and with all the crap going on in this once great country. Instead of writing I prayed.  Because sometimes that is all you need to set your world back on an even keel.

I can't change our country, I can change how I react to it.  There is nothing at this point and time that will change the fact that my medical insurance is rapidly becoming an unusable expense for me.  That I am now struggling to find all new doctors, accepting new patients, because of these wonderful new laws and the insurance companies and doctors reactions to it.

There is nothing I can do to change the fact that my dollars are becoming worthless or that my house is costing me more every year due to the FHA insurance that keeps going up to cover others that aren't taking care of business. 

I can't change the fact that there are so many stupid things going on.  I can't change the fact that people are blind to it unless there is pain. And the pain must be current, not remembered.  That is something our current administration knows how to use and use to their advantage.  Each time he wants his way, there is pain inflicted, people don't want pain so they do what he wants.  It's sad and sickening!

And I can't change it.  I am not going to stop fighting against anything that is hurting and enslaving American people, but I am not going to let it rule my heart.

I also can't change some of the things at work.  I can only control what I can control.  And I am going to focus on that.

What I can control and change is how I react to it.  How I move forward in the darkness and how I find the light. 

I am making more hats, planning more craft shows, working on several sewing projects for others and getting ready to make some soaps.  I am creating new classes at work to engage more people.

I am enjoying the beautiful flowers that my two B's gave me for bosses day!  They made me cry!!  I mean seriously cry!  No one had ever given me so much as a card for bosses day, and those sweet ladies bought me flowers!!  I love flowers and I really love the B's! They make the day fun and productive, we are a great team, but not just at work.  Those two women are simply amazing, strong, caring, loving and powerful!  I treasure them both... They are people that I consider friends first, co-workers second.  They made me cry... but they were tears of joy!

Yesterday as I sat at my desk working through the backlog from the week before and looking up at my flowers.  I felt the world shifting inside my heart.  I started to sort out the can't changes from the can changes.  I thought about the little baggie that I moved inside my desk so it didn't get stolen, with little chocolate treats and the note that it was "time to take a break".  I thought about the way that small act of kindness made me feel loved and cared about...

We all have a choice in this world.  We can be compassionate, caring, loving and productive or we can be victims, takers and greedy.  I think I will stay as part of the first group!  That is how our country will be ours again. 

Thank you B's for once again making me feel grounded and focused.  I love you ladies!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Counting Blessings!

There is nothing like waking up and your old pup is in what I call puppy mode.  Watching him running around the yard in his bouncy way with his ears perked up, it's easy to forget that he is around 13 years old.  For his breed that is an advanced age. 

It only carried the wonderful feelings left over from last night.  I wanted to write last night, I even tried, but keeping my eyes open was not something I was being successful at.  And even though the words were dancing in my head they simply wouldn't tap themselves to the computer without help.

Our crazy country is seriously having issues.  I have reached the point that I feel they all think we are stupid and not capable of having a rational thought.  I was thinking about that this week, as if my rant didn't make that clear.  Then I started to really think...

I am blessed...

Hubby and I both work for a non-profit, so you can imagine how that translates to our personal budget.  But we have a home, it's not palatial, but it's ours. We make our payments and we take care of it around all our other tasks.  We have our children and grand child, they are smart, hard workers, loving, the girls are beautiful, "the boy" is handsome.  We have friends that we love, that we laugh with, cry with, that we hold hands with to help us all survive this crazy world.

I am blessed....

When I took the week off of work, I was feeling major burn out.  I was a fish swimming upstream over a dam or at least that was how I felt.  I was struggling.  It felt out of control and I was having a struggle finding much joy in my path.   I needed that week to regroup and bring it back to center. I feel re-energized.  It's been a tough few days getting caught up and such, but I feel excited to be doing it, not stressed and out of control.  I am passionate about it.

We are moving into our major fund raising of the year.  In fact we will kick off the staff part on Monday.  I am helping head it up, and I feel good about it.  It feels right.  Now if I could just get a few more folks to agree to help me that would be amazing!  Not having much luck at Friend raising right now... hmmm does that mean no one wants to be my friend??

I am blessed...

At class last night I was overjoyed to be a bystander in watching a newbie, if one ever was, sew her first seam ever!  She is going to be an amazing quilter, she gets that practice makes perfect and was ready to start sewing after practicing on paper until she felt confident. 

Success! First seam sewn!

Focus.... I can repeat this...

Did she lose the foot pedal? "A" is in the background completely focused throughout it all!
Watching the mix of anticipation and apprehension dash across her face as she cautiously pushed down on the foot pedal drew me in.  It was magical!  The entire room could feel her excitement and joy.  The smile and laughter were contagious.  One block short of a complete row, she reluctantly put it down.  Already plotting and planning on getting a sewing machine of her own.  She might be hooked...

Mad skills at work!!
I cannot wait to see the finished coat!

Oh My Goodness!!  My boys need coats... That is so adorable!!!! (Photo courtesy of "S")

A puppy coat in a beautiful hounds-tooth check was finished, it was so adorable I almost couldn't stand it!  "S" definitely has a natural talent!  I loved when she told me she was putting a button hole on the neck, I looked at her puzzled as she patiently explained to me that it was for the leash to connect with the collar... absolutely genius! The little coat is adorable.  More so when she sent me a picture of her sweet little Callie wearing the finished project. 

"A" started assembling the bits and pieces of her quilt, the first block is so beautiful!  I love the soft pastels and the way they flow together.  The little pockets for the baby's treasures are just delightful!  I cannot wait to see the finished quilt, the anticipation is killing me.

"B" couldn't join us, she hurt her wrist and was at home trying to heal.  We missed her!  I get lost in the colors of her quilt, she has an amazing eye for color and I enjoy the path it takes my mind down.

I am pretty sure that Hubby has given up on his quilting projects, as I now have three of them in the box I tote to class, and he hasn't had time to attend at all.  It's okay... but we gotta get those projects done.

I am planning a mystery quilt day for November 2, I work that weekend and I want to do something fun!  And one of our members has volunteered to teach a class making pajama bottoms on November 16, I cannot wait!  How exciting can it get?

So yes... I am blessed...

My life isn't perfect, none ever are.  I don't have everything I want, but I do have everything I need.  I have love, laughter and joy in my life to temper the occasional stress, strain, tears and sadness.  

Good Night Mom, we are taking your side of the bed tonight!

I am ready to face life with a loving heart, a strong mental attitude, and a smile on my face.  It would be an insult to all that is good to not!  Are you blessed? Have you looked into your heart to examine yourself?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Warning... This is a Rant!

"This world keeps spinning faster to a new disaster"... Those words from a song are playing through my mind this morning.  I am worried about my country.  I am worried about the path we as a people are on, and I am more worried about the folks that simply don't want to pay attention.

I try very hard not to be political.  I don't sign up to campaign, I don't donate to politicians and I have a pretty firm belief in keeping an open mind.  I realize that not everyone shares my views, just as I don't share the same as the rest of the world.  That is what is so incredible about living in this country, we can all have our own ideas, beliefs, thoughts, etc and in practice we all work together to come up with a solution that we can all agree to live with.

I am doing a lot of research lately.  I don't trust the news media, they really lost me completely when the Two Million Bikers ride to DC in honor of all that lost their lives on September 11th garnered very little coverage.  Thank you Fox News for the few minutes you gave it, even though you couldn't get enough of Miley Cyrus acting like a fool on national television. The rest of the news media was simply crickets, sheer silence.  When the D.C. traffic camera's showed snow on the ground and empty streets why did our new media not step it up and ask the hard questions?

Oh I could go on for hours about the sickening fear so many in this country have. I hate to watch press conferences because they need to be renamed briefings.  Because that is what they are. No one is brave enough to ask the bullies at the podium what the country wants, needs and has a right to know.  They wouldn't dream of making them sweat!

I miss the days of news reporters that were willing to stand up, dig for the truth and report it.  Not caring about their popularity.  Not being bullied by politicians and others in control.  I miss the days when we were informed - at least a little bit.  Gotta say I was never really thrilled when they would go on for days about this one's prostate, or that one's sibling that had a problem with alcohol. 

I miss that we the people cannot be truly informed anymore.  I hate hearing the American people being called sheeple, but sadly that is what we are becoming.  A nation being led to slaughter, not a nation begin led by people that represent us and our wishes. 

I used to identify with one political party, I can tell you, I do not identify with either any longer.  They are basically the same.  Money and power hungry people that do not care who they destroy to get what they want.  Oh there are a few that care, there are a few that are fighting the good fight. But I fear it is too few to matter at this point.

I have spent my life in countries like what the politicians are trying to create here.  They are great countries, full of great people, but I never wanted to live like that.  Benjamin Franklin said "those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety". He said those words way back in 1759That was 254 years ago.  Those words are just as true today. Maybe more so...

I haven't researched it yet and I chose not to believe a single source as information, seems a lot of stuff was happening in our nations capital this weekend.  I want to know why when I turned on the news last night, all that was playing was reruns of the normal weekend shows.  When the newscaster closes with see you again next Saturday, and it is Sunday, I simply have to believe that its not current.  At one point I even heard that internet signals and news feeds were being blocked. We don't do that in America.  We are a free people, and the right to free speech does not simply cover the people that want to publish porn and make vile movies.  It applies to all speech!

I am worried... I am afraid that we the people are heading down a very slippery slope.  That maybe, just maybe we have gone too far to come back up.  That we are letting a few people decide what is best for all of us, because we simply don't want the responsibility. 

I got a letter in the mail this weekend, telling me that I could no longer use my primary care doctor.  In fact, seems I spend a lot of money each month for insurance for my entire family and it's pretty much worthless. No doctors or hospitals want to accept it, and getting an appointment was already challenging in this area due to the fact that I live in one of two "lawsuit" capitals in the country. Doctors flee from this area in droves due to the extremely high cost of malpractice insurance and the huge odds of being sued. 

I completely agree we need healthcare reform.  Or maybe it is simply insurance reform.  But I do not agree that the government needs to run it... sorry folks... had government ran healthcare my whole life... boy are we in for a treat. I just happen to think the IRS is not an agency that has any business in anyone's healthcare, and that what is between me and my doctors is private.  I am so happy for our President and his cronies that they got their 2000 plus page bill on healthcare reform, my only question... why didn't anyone read it first? Something that impacts millions should never have been passed first, read later.  It should have been written, researched, studied, debated, discussed with the American people, revised and then repeat the whole process over until it was what we all agreed was good for all of us.  True we would never have complete agreement, but when included in the debate far more will support something that they don't completely agree with.

No one should be without healthcare, true, but everyone has always had the right and ability to purchase health insurance for themselves.  If you decide not to, that is not the responsibility of the entire country.

I am worried.  At what point do these transformations stop, when do we no longer look like ourselves?  When we look in the mirror do we still see American's?  Is our ability to dream still out there?  We are deliberately becoming uniformed, history is being rewritten and fed to our children, we were one of the leaders in education, now our children cannot compete on the global market.  Our kids struggle to get accepted into colleges in our own country, because they cannot compete academically with children from Asia and India.  We are succeeding in creating a lot of GenEd students, and not high academics, why is that? We value the wrong things in this country anymore, and it is terrifying!!

I have often heard Hubby say I am glad I am at the age I am.  Meaning that he won't have to see what we become.  It frightens me.  Because our children and grandchildren will. 

I don't believe that most of the American population fits into the tiny little boxes the politicians want us to.  I talk to friends that are devout democrats and I marvel at how much their beliefs fit mine.  I talk to friends that refuse to vote, because in their minds the lessor of two evils is still evil, and again they align pretty clearly with my beliefs.  I have friends that are far wealthier than I will ever be and I have friends that are struggling daily to survive.  They are every imaginable race, creed and gender.  They are all simply American's.  And the stuff I hear on the "news" - or propaganda machines - does not reflect our hopes, dreams, goals and plans.

We the People are good, strong, hard working, compassionate, loving, caring, devoted to home and country, nurturing, intelligent, giving, determined.  We are uplifting, empowered, and we will always be there for our fellow man.  We never needed the government to control or enslave us.  Not with excessive rules to justify their existence or "aid" to insure our bondage.  Long before the government found they could enslave us, we were insuring that we all took care of each other.  That is what made us the greatest country in the world.

Today... I am worried! I hope that my friends, family and neighbors know that I will always do everything I can to support and help you through this life.  I believe that is what humans do.  Whether the government is there or not, I will be. I will bring my skills, my labor and my love to the table in a time of need, whether large or small.  I pray that I can count on them to do the same.

I am worried that our country is broken, that we have inadvertently created a ruling class that makes it almost impossible for us to thrive and grow.

The optimist that I am hopes that We the People wake up.  That We the People find the strength and courage of our convictions and work together to heal our once great nation.  I am proud of the bikers, veterans, and truckers that are standing up... I hope before long We the People stand together and reclaim what is ours.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Slowing down... for a minute...

Daddy... Have I mentioned I love you?
A steaming cup of Vanilla Red Rooibos tea, warm flannel pj's and hubby's soft snore as he drifts on the couch waiting for his favorite show to start.  Perfect end to the week and weekend.

Today was a slightly better day, all in all it wasn't a terrible weekend, and it was a good learning experience.  I am going to look into setting up a shop on the Square Market.  Still debating on the Etsy site.  I have met so many people that have a wide variety of experience with it that I am still thinking about it. We will see.

Once we wrapped up today, Hubby and my son helped me pack it all up and head home.  We hadn't been home long when Hubby took me for a nice long motorcycle ride.  The sun was setting as we headed home.  It was the perfect way to unwind.  The cool October breeze, the brilliant colors as the sun drifted below the horizon, the fields in various stages of being harvested, and the silence of the small mid-western towns that surround us. It is so hard to remember sometimes that even though I live in a busy city area, very near to me they are rolling up the streets at six o'clock at night.  It was perfect!

Tomorrow I will jump back into work.  So many things are getting ready to start, it will be a busy time.  I am hoping to take a few more vacation days this year.  A chance to enjoy the time of year that I love so much!

I have the opportunity to go to a few more shows this year.  One is appealing to me and I will be considering it.  It's close to Christmas and I am thinking it would be a lot of fun. I just need to think about it. It's going to be a busy time of year at work, I just need to decide if I can make it work in my schedule.  Without making myself feel an overwhelming need to run and hide.

I have the opportunity to make a gift for a fund raiser for a little baby girl, she's only 8 months old, and fighting cancer.  I told the woman to send me an email with where to deliver it, I want to be able to help do something for such a good cause.  I pray that she is healing.

We need love... isn't it time for bed?

There is another cup of tea calling my name and then it's off to bed to snuggle my boys... they are acting completely love starved.  I hope everyone else has had the time to enjoy a wonderful activity this fall.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A leap of faith...

What have I gotten myself into??
Note to self... Maybe check the city calendar to insure that when you live in the St. Louis area, you do not sign up for a craft show, the same weekend Octoberfest is in Soulard, Fall Fest in Downtown St. Louis, the Autism walk in Forest Park, the Cardinals in post season play, and the the Blues playing all in one day... Whew!  That makes a little craft show not the place to hang out when you add into the mix it is a beautiful day in the high seventies.
So maybe not the best weekend to decide to break a 25 plus year hiatus from craft shows.  I wouldn't say it was the greatest day, but I am also not going to say it was the worst.  I sold a few hats, hubby sold a few of his "Woods Belts"... I have a few orders to get done tonight for tomorrow, and I now have enough inventory to consider opening my Etsy shop.  Everyone was commenting on how few people showed up.  It was crazy!

All sorts of odd character hats!

Big Girl Bonnets and Slouch Hats in all colors
We cannot forget Hubby's Woods Belt!
All in all... it's been okay. I don't know why I had myself sick to my stomach.  I guess because having faith in your dreams is scary stuff.  And I don't do scary well.  I am definitely a middle of the road, don't step out of the box kind of woman.  I have never been someone that has been willing to take leaps of faith, at least not in myself.  This year has definitely been a JUMP out into strange waters for me.

Let's see... I started a blog... and I have stuck with it (still trying to understand that).  I have decided to start doing craft shows (still not quite morphed to Etsy yet).  I have started teaching a class (seriously - when did that occur to me - and I love it!)... who knows what is next...

I am hoping tomorrow will be better, but an event that happened today kind of made it irrelevant.  One of the guys working there came in to see what Hubby had for sale... as he was laughing and telling me "you can see why I didn't believe him" he got a call. About 30 minutes later, his boss was chatting with us as he got a call from the same young man.  That call he got while walking out of the craft show was from his sister, his mother had just died.  In the blink of an eye something precious disappeared completely.

It was surreal to hear those words, to realize that while his mom was dying he was at work laughing with me. Life changes in the blink of an eye.

Here I am focusing on all the mundane little bits and pieces of life and someone in the blink of an eye lost a very important part of their life.  It tilted my perspective of the day completely.  Here I was worrying about fear and being willing to change... stupid. I am praying for this man that I only spoke to for a second.  My heart feels deeply for him.

I have a wonderful, supportive family.  Three friends showed up to support me, it felt wonderful to be able to say friends... they didn't have to show up - but they did! I had the joy of snuggling one of my friends' new baby, it was so hard to hand him back over!  I think I fell in love!! I love knowing these things.  It makes me feel so good.  My children helped me set everything up, cheered me on.  I got messages from family in Arkansas.  I am a very blessed woman!  And I don't want to ever forget that!

My girl helping with the final set up
After set up dinner with my amazing kids and grand baby!
Fear has no place in my life... I am getting ready to make chili for lunch tomorrow, bake a batch of brownies and make a hat that was ordered today.  Tomorrow is a new day and I am ready to take it on...

Friday, October 11, 2013

F.E.A.R... you know what it stands for...

Whew... my fingers are killing me, in fact I am so tired I can barely see straight!  Yet I am so nervous and apprehensive.  I am at 74 beanies, I simply don't think I will reach my 100 goal.  I am trying.  I haven't given up yet, but I am close.  At some point my fingers and lack of sleep have to win.

So why am I nervous?  Maybe it is the eternal optimist in me... or the girl/boy scout roots of always needing to be prepared.  Do I seriously expect to sell out... probably not... but I am terrified of not holding up my end of the agreement.  Who knows, I might come home with the same 74 beanies I am leaving with.  Actually, I might have a few more, because I plan to continue working on them while I am there.

I never got my soap made.  I simply didn't have time or the energy... I have considered it for today, but I really am not thinking it is going to happen. 

I am so nervous, I know that I shouldn't be.  I also know that I am incredibly insecure about my skill set and abilities.  This is the first time in over 25 years that I have truly put myself out there on such a grand scale. It's a leap of faith that I am not sure I was ready to do.  It's one thing to sell a random hat or two to friends.  It's another to hope complete strangers like them enough to buy them. 

I do have dreams, I would love for b'longa'b's to become my full time passion and career, but I am also sadly a realist.  Those two don't combine well.  It takes a lot for me to be willing take risks, and this is a risk.  Oh it isn't going to bankrupt me, or make my life miserable like the last time.  The amount of time I have invested while seeming huge right now isn't that great, I have spent more time doing other things that I don't love that I will never get back.  Mostly... it is fear...

Yeah, yeah, yeah... I know what fear stands for... False Evidence Appearing Real... but it is still my false evidence.  What if they don't like my beanies?  I know me well enough to know I am going to take it personal.  I do believe that I mentioned I am insecure... What if I come home with 74 beanies?  What if I come home with none and an order list too long to comprehend?  Yeah, I am like that... I worry like crazy about the extremes and forget all the middle ground.

I am sure it is all going to be just fine. It is just my over active, paranoid, insecure imagination kicking in.  I think I need to focus on simply having fun and let the rest of it simply happen...

Tonight I set up, I have my daughter - the queen of retail display- helping me.  And tomorrow Hubby and I will have a great time! If you are at the South County Y, stop by and say Hi!

I promise my blog will get back to normal next week... I just needed time to go crazy and dream big! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Nail by Nail...

Ripping out the old porch
"Nail by nail and board by board, Daddy gave life to Momma's dream"... well maybe not a dream but definitely a want!  I know I said that I was going to be working on hats all day yesterday.  I know my goal was ten complete hats, I didn't quite get there.

Our front porch has had some serious issues for awhile now, but we work so much anymore that we haven't been home to get much accomplished during daylight hours.  We just kept pushing it off. Limited time for chores and unwinding, limited money to rebuild and neither of us being able to agree on our ultimate goal for the rebuild, led to complete immobility.  We knew it needed to be done, we were frozen in place.

That frozen attitude thawed rapidly the other day.  When one of the boards finally broke, luckily it was in the lowest level and just a slight give under the foot.  It was definitely a call to action. Over twenty years ago Hubby had placed AstroTurf from Busch stadium over the surface of the entire decking.  His mom had loved the idea and the stadium was tossing it as they were going back to real grass. Seemed like a win/win situation I am sure.

Fast forward to 2013 and the treated lumber had rotted so badly that it was a serious safety hazard.

Hubby and I are both strong believers in upcycling and repurposing.  I knew that we had the wood to repair the one broken board when I asked Hubby to fix it yesterday.  In my mind it was another win/win situation.  One broken board, Hubby having free time, and me needing some serious time to crochet.

I am guessing that I don't communicate well or maybe Hubby doesn't always read  between the lines.  Or maybe it was simply that age old communication issue between men and women.  You know both speaking the same language and neither completely understanding.

One board quickly lead to me helping install the whole lower landing.  Desperately crocheting a row or two in between holding boards for cutting and passing screws for assembling.  The whole time praying that the spots we were walking back and forth on would not give.  That they would stay solid and no legs would be broken in the midst of the initial repair.

Slowly it dawned on me that we were going to have to fix those boards at the top, they were simply a step or two away from total collapse themselves. Each step was confirming my greatest fears...

It was a beautiful day, our wonderful neighbors had said that we could have the treated lumber out by the trailer and if nothing else we could go right on top of the damaged stuff to get us through the winter and rebuild in the spring.

Our only fear was that the top rails were what was sunk into the ground. I had a lot of time to look at it while holding boards and helping Hubby by passing screws.  It wasn't connected, in fact it looked like it was added as an afterthought.

Next thing I know, Hubby is ripping up AstroTurf and we are praying the frame was intact, because the decking itself was destroyed.

Fast forward a few hours, with help from our ex-son-in-law and wood from the neighbors, we have most of a new font porch in.  And true to my upcycling heart it was all done with reclaimed supplies and a rebate card from Menards.  The frame was solid, all we needed was to replace the surface.  Today Hubby will rebuild the steps, and build the steps off the other side that he's simply wanted forever.  I no longer have to worry the postman or neighbors are going to fall through the deck and sue us. Not to mention that it looks so nice.  I didn't really share Mom's love of AstroTurf.  Total cost for new porch $5.37.  Yep, I am a happy girl!

I stayed up and crocheted until my fingers and brain couldn't go any longer. Chatting with my son and learning about the universe.  I didn't complete any hats, but I did get the base done for seven.  I will continue to work on them all today.  If I get to goal, I get to goal.  I am sure at some point Hubby is going to need help again today. And as he is working to make me happy, it isn't going to hurt me to push those other things aside and help him. Today I will  cut Hubby's hair, make soap, finish more hats and finally go to work long enough to teach my class.  I wasn't willing to skip that.

I love that Hubby will do the things that make me happy and allow me to feel secure.  I am sure he had other plans for the day, but he loves me enough to take care of what I need... What more can a girl ask for?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Vacation Monday...

One bin of hats...
Hot coffee, french toast, and a slow start to the day. That is really a good way to start the week.  I am so thankful to hubby for taking the time to do that for me. 

I am completely focused on getting ready for craft show this weekend, and fairly positive that I am stressing myself out completely! On top of that... seems I am getting a cold.  I never get sick.  For someone with a messed up immune system, I am really healthy.  So doesn't it figure that the one cold a year that I seem to get would happen this week. I sure hope yesterday was simply a reaction to riding in the cold rain the day before.  I really don't want to spend my first long vacation all year sick.  I think that would simply make me incredibly depressed.

Over breakfast we were listening to the news.  I am not crazy or losing my mind!  Shocking I know.  I missed it, but Hubby didn't.  I really wasn't "allergic" to our country place.  I was evidently very sensitive to the Lead mine they reopened not too long ago near the property.  I am relieved to know that is what it is, as I am a complete outside person.  I am also thankful that my work schedule kept us from being there more often. 

I am a firm believer that all things happen for a reason.  When I think back to a lot of things in my life, I realize that there was always something there that makes sense. Something that protected me or made my life better in the long run. I am so thankful right now for having a job that kept me too busy to enjoy my country place.  I don't know if I will ever forget the burning of my skin, my eyes swelling and the breathing issues... I have an amazing guardian angel!

I will be kind of scarce this week, I feel completely unprepared for this coming weekend.  Yesterday I managed to complete 8 hats, I was shooting for 10.  That nap was needed though.  I haven't done a craft fair in over 20 years.  I might be being optimistic about what is waiting for me.  Maybe I will have so many hats left over that I won't know what to do with them.  Or maybe I will sell out completely and not have enough to man my booth for the two required days.  Yikes!  I am too much of a by the book, rule follower for this kind of uncertainty.

What is that zombie doing by the flowers?
Well... hook and yarn are waiting... shooting for 10 new and completion of half of the bag waiting for finishing today... and I need to make a few batches of soap. Cold - stay away!

have you tried...

I am learning.   It's a late day for me and I am enjoying the solitude of the morning.  I am working on bringing some balance back ...