Monday, August 10, 2015

Well, hello there

No, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth and no, I haven't stopped blogging, although it would appear that way. I certainly hope you guys haven't given up on me.  I've just been 1) lazy, 2) dealing with flares, 3) having weekend visitors, and 4) lazy. I have lots of stuff to tell you so I hope this post doesn't go on forever.

July was a MONTH! I have several crochet projects ongoing and one I'm absolutely panting to start. I also have a couple of cross stitch projects I'm working on and one I am eager to start.

My train of thought keeps getting interrupted because my husband is fixing himself something to eat and talking to the dog which cracks me up. Now, back to my post.

I think I've told you about my Cubs Season 2015 blanket. It's coming right along and I am having the best time working on it. I don't get to see all the games since WGN no longer broadcasts them. I have to wait for the MLB network or ESPN to show them and they are few and far between. I do have a scoreboard app on my tablet to keep up with games and they are doing great this year.

They have won the last 10 of 11 games. So proud of my Cubbies. It's a great season so far.

I'm also making a baby blanket for a second cousin. She has been married for 19 years and trying to have a baby for 18. She found out last month that she is pregnant. I am keeping my fingers crossed for her while working on this blanket. I love making baby blankets. I'm going to make a little hat to go with it if I don't run out of yarn.  I hope you can see the pattern. It's a little hard to make out in the photos.

I've also been slowly trudging through a CAL that started in January. I'm slow and I have to make allowances for my hands. I don't always get to crochet when I want to but I have found that if I take it slow and don't overdo it, I can get some rows done every day. I definitely am going to finish this CAL. I am learning to read charts on this one and I am really enjoying it even though I messed up the last round and need to frog some of the squares. These photos show just a small number of squares.

I've also bought my yarn to do a Sophie's Universe CAL which is actually over but I've bookmarked the pattern I absolutely feel in love with the photos of this one on Facebook and I honestly can't wait to start it. I have always been a one at a time project maker which has kept me from doing much but I'm finding that having several projects going at the same time is fun. However, Sophie's Universe is BIG and detailed and beautiful and I want to dedicate myself to it properly. We'll see how long I hold out. :)

I have been doing counted cross stitch projects. I finished this one, the Lizzie*Kate Mystery for last fall and I love it. I need to press it and get it framed along with another one I did last year. Here they are. I love doing Lizzie*Kate cross stitch. She has the cutest ideas.

Now I'm working on Elijah's birth sampler. I am little behind on it as he was born in 2012!!! But his Mom (my DIL) told me not to worry; it was more for her than him anyway. This is what I've gotten so far. I designed this one myself and it's sort of bits and pieces being pulled together. There really isn't a graph. This is the first thing I've ever really designed and I guess I've been slow to work on it because I wasn't sure of myself. It's turning out well so far. There will be a row of seashells around it as a border.

I'm also finishing up a Halloween cross stitch from last year. Whew, I went from single minded projects to full blown out of mind crafting!!!

I am designing Jellybean's birth sampler but I've not got it all together yet. I have a picture of it in my head and I won't be able to show any of it on here since Abby reads my blog. I want it to be a surprise. She knows some of the elements but I've made a few changes since I told her and I think it will be much better. So no photos until it is completed and given to her.

We had a visit from Sweet Baby James and his Mama and Dada a couple of weekends ago. Whew, that kid is a bundle of energy. He is so funny and is totally a two year old. I know I shouldn't laugh but Mimi's get the privilege sometimes. When they were trying to get him to do something, he would throw himself in the floor with his arms stretch over his head and say, "I lay down!" To me that was hilarious but then I'm not having to deal with it on a daily basis. I think he's wearing his Mama out. She's counting the days until Mother's Day Out starts up again.  :)

He's gotten very independent as two year olds do. We have a planter on the front porch that looks like a bicycle and he pulled it out and climbed on. It's only got 2 small little braces at the bottom to keep it upright so I was holding the handle bars so it wouldn't tip over. He pushed my hand away and said, "No, Mimi. I ride myself!" I ended up having to put my foot against the one of the wheels so it wouldn't tip. He did a great job balancing himself on it. I adore this little man!!!

I've been on a shopping spree for the grands also. I sent the DIL in GA money to buy them clothes with but Eli sort of got gypped. So Grammy got on her favorite shopping device and ordered bow ties and shoes for him. Then I ordered PJ's for James. I've also been doing some shopping for me as in new crochet hooks, a set of afghan crochet hooks, a couple of books, yarn. Oh my, I really don't want to see the credit card bill this month.  :)

So there you have it; all caught up with the month of July. I've also been reading quite a bit and listening to audio books. I like the audio books when I'm working. They are also great to crochet and stitch to especially since there's not much on TV that interests me at the moment. I hope to be back soon with a Book Challenge Update.

Until then, hugs to all my great bloggy pals. Thank you for all your comfort and support this past year. The future is looking bright and I hope to post more often. No promises because, you know, the reasons listed in the first paragraph. I have been trying to keep up with all of you and comment when I can. I adore my bloggy friends.


Sunday, June 28, 2015

One Year

Friday marked one year since my Mom passed away. The week was harder than I truly expected. I had already planned on taking the day for reflection and time for me. But the loss is just as sharp as if it was happening now.

My Mom was an amazing woman. She was so outgoing and had such a zest for life. She was always ready to go on an adventure and never met anyone she couldn't talk to. Her smile was so open and friendly, people just naturally gravitated to her. She looked for the humor in all things.

She had a hard time when she had to move from the home she had known for over 30 years and never quite reconciled to living with my aunt. I am still going thru boxes from her room. She didn't get rid of much. It was as if, by having everything around her, she still had some independence. I think that's what upset her the most, not having that freedom to do as she pleased. While she was not a prisoner, she seemed to feel that living in someone else's home made her less in some way.

Watching her give up her independence a little at a time as she got sicker and weaker hurt so much. I was guilty of trying to do too much many times until I realized that I was denying her the right to make her own decisions. I wanted to take away that necessity of thinking and planning and all that goes with a serious illness so she could concentrate on getting better. I overstepped my bounds often, I think. It was done with love and I think she knew that but having been so independent, especially since my Father's death, she was unused to not having control.

Mom was a caregiver. She was the oldest of 10 children and she was expected to take care of the younger ones when my grandparents were busy with the farm or gone to the store. At 10 years old, she was taking care of babies. The last 2 were born after she married, but by then, she had me to take care of.

As she got older, she became the one who stepped in when someone was sick. She and her sisters took care of Grandpa and Granny as they aged. She was there when my aunt passed away from cancer, helping her brother and nephews. She was there when my uncle passed away from cancer, helping her sister, niece and nephew. She visited my uncle in the nursing home weekly and took water, tissues, etc. She also bought clothes and did laundry when he needed it. He is having trouble with his memory now and occasionally will ask my aunt Katheryn how Mrs. Broyles is doing. He always called Mom, Mrs. Broyles. My aunt will remind him that she passed away and he will say something like yes, I remember.

I was prepared for a really bad day on Friday since the 2 weeks before had been rough. I found myself reliving the journey from news of the tumor to the final hours daily. However, by Friday, I felt a peace and a calmness I wasn't expecting. I had good memories rolling around in my head and my heart was full of love. I think this is Mom's legacy to me; to allow the pain to run its course and then to be filled with love.

Mom, I miss you every day.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Bad Blogger

It would appear that I have become quite lackadaisical about my blogging. I have good intentions but you know what they say about that!

“A good intention, with a bad approach, often leads to a poor result.”  Thomas A Edison

So there you are. Good intentions not followed through.

I have still been reading, about the only thing I'm doing on a regular basis. I've gotten way behind on my listing so here goes:

2015 Reading Challenge - 50 books
Read to date - 24 books

Time Bomb - Jonathan Kellerman

Another great book from Mr. Kellerman. I really enjoy his Alex Delaware series. Alex is a psychologist who's best friend is a police detective named Milo Sturgis. They investigate the shooting at a school which leads to other killings. The father of the girl who was the shooter (she was killed, btw) hires Alex to do a profile of his daughter. The interactions and the reasons for everything kept me guessing until the end. Love that.

Death's Acre -  William Bass

This is the story of how the Body Farm was built. The Body Farm is located in Knxoville, TN behind the University of Tennessee Hospital. Knoxville is about 60 miles southwest of where I live. It was interesting to learn how the ideas came about and how they developed the Farm into what it is today - a leading forensic laboratory studying the decomposition of bodies. I know that sounds morbid but it has helped many investigators determine how and when someone was killed. He also discussed some of the more "famous" in Knoxville that he dealt with.

Wild:From lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail - Cheryl Strayed

One of the best books I've read that also happens to be a true story. It opens with one of her boots falling off the ridge down the side of a mountain. After watching it disappear into the woods below, the throws the other boot as hard as she can after it. My admiration for this woman grew as the book progressed. She had never hiked in the wilderness and after her mother died and her life fell apart, she decided to do this. Along the way, she met lots of friends and a couple of threatening situations, but all in all, she became more aware of herself and her surroundings. She discovered that she was stronger than she knew and that the lessons her mother had taught her were still there. A great read, I highly recommend it.

Still Alice - Lisa Genova

I wasn't sure I wanted to read this but yet, I was intrigued. I have always felt that Alzheimer's was such a hard disease to deal with and that it was harder on the caregivers than the person who had it. This changed my perspective. While I still feel the caregivers are the ones who suffer most, the person affected must deal with many emotions, fear and loss being major ones. The book is written from the view of the lady who finds herself diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's. She is a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world renown expert in linguistics (from Amazon description). Seeing the progression from her point of view was extremely interesting but also depressing. I cried through half of the book but it ends on a calm note. 

Natchez Burning - Greg Iles

One of my favorite authors. My mother and I shared a love of his books and she would have so enjoyed this one. Penn Cage, a retired lawyer and successful author, is mayor of Natchez, his home town. He finds himself in the middle of a situation involving his father, who is a beloved physician in town, that reaches back to the 1960's, during the Civil Rights marches and the voter registrations in Mississippi. He has to find the person who killed Dr. Cage's nurse because his father is accused of that murder. She had fled to Chicago after some terrible things happened in the 60's but came back home because she was dying of cancer. The book is not tiny, in fact, in paperback, it is 800+ pages but it wrapped me up and I couldn't put it down. It's the first in a series Mr Iles wrote after he had a a terrible traffic accident, losing his right leg below the knee. Another book I highly recommend.

Dust - Patricia Cornwell

A Kay Scarpetta book. I use to really enjoy Patricia Cornwell's books but it seemed to me that she fell down a rabbit hole in some of her later books. However, I can say this one was really good, kind of draggy in places but still good. Everything in the book , except for the last few pages, happen in a 24 hour period. I still have trouble with her style but it was easier to follow in this book. If you are a Patricia Cornwell fan, or a Kay Scarpetta one, you will enjoy this book.

All of the above books were borrowed from my local library through my Kindle except Time Bomb, Natchez Burning and Dust. I am really enjoying the ability to do this as I can get current books without having to pay anything. 

So, all caught up now. Think I'll stay that way??????

Update on Doug: First of all, I need to say a very big thank you for your comments on that post. He is doing very well. He has had some pain issues but I think that's under control now. He told me it hurts more than it did when he was 14! Well, son, you are almost 36 now. Things hurt more as you get older!

No promises! I'll be here when I can. I'm trying to stay caught up on your blogs but I'm behind on that also. But things are looking up and hopefully, I'll have more time on my hands to enjoy what I love to do.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Another Stressful Event

Hello, my dear bloggy friends. I truly do not mean to go so long between posts but life and other stuff seems to get in the way often. Since I last wrote, we have had our world shaken. Our son, who is 35, had to have another open heart surgery May 5.

I noticed on Facebook on Friday, April 24, that he and Trisha were on their way to see his cardiologist. When I asked why, Trisha told me there were some issues that needed to be checked out. He had blood work and an echo-cardiogram and the results were not good. In fact, his cardiologist was very concerned. There was another leak around his artificial mitral valve which was much more severe than the first one. The first one was plugged in January of 2013 and apparently, because the tissue the sutures were in was not in great shape, the additional pressure of the plugs caused more sutures to pull through and created the additional leak.

After the visit, I received a call from Doug telling about the problems and that he would have to undergo a third open heart surgery. He had his first one when he was 3 to repair a hole in the center of his heart that never closed. In addition, the surgeon discovered that his mitral valve had a pie shaped wedge deformity and would need replacing at some point later in his life. That point came when he was 14. He had gained quite a bit of weight and was having trouble breathing and had no energy. When we went to see his cardiologist in January, we were told he no longer accepted our insurance and that we would need to find someone else. Long story short, we were transferred to an amazing pediatric cardiologist who, although he had no idea why we were there (the former cardio hadn't messengered Doug's file like he was supposed to have done), he listened to us and examined Doug and gave him an EKG. He determined that Doug's heart was not beating in rhythm and wanted to try to medicate him back into rhythm. He was going to send him home with medication but something worried me and I asked could he not do this in the hospital.  He said sure and admitted Doug that day to Children's Hospital in the ICU. During the medication process, Doug developed V-tach which means his ventricle was pumping very fast and not pushing any blood out to his body. We almost lost him which makes me every more grateful that I insisted we do the medicating in the hospital.

After determining everything that needed to be done, he was admitted to the University of Tennessee hospital and had OP surgery to replace his mitral valve and to implant a pacemaker. When he had his surgery at 3, the electrical leads that tell the heart to beat were severed and this was the reason he didn't beat in rhythm. He was also in A-Fib which meant his atrium was beating rapidly but sending no signal to the ventricle.

He has handled all this with calmness except for a few years when he was very angry at having to deal with all the attending testing and everything that went along with having artificial things in your body. His mechanical valve clicked with a watch. We use to joke that he was like a Timex, he took a licking but kept on beating.

Fast forward to May, 2015, and the surgery. His mechanical valve was 65% loose when the surgeon got in there. My fear has always been the bypass when they let a machine take over for his heart an lungs. I really don't think I've let myself think about the other part, the opening of his sternum and the opening of his heart. This surgery was performed at Emory Hospital in Atlanta, GA. I don't think Doug could have been at a better place to have this done. The doctors are wonderful and for the most part, the nurses were fantastic. My daughter-in-law is a nurse and she had some problems but I think that was a result of knowing what needed to be done and not seeing it happen with the nurses. Doug did have a really rude one the first night he was in ICU but after that, they were all nice.

We had planned to come home when he got out of ICU but a problem with a lead for his pacemaker showed so he had to go back to surgery on Friday morning to have the lead replaced in the proper position. The surgeon had to move it to get to where he needed to be in the heart. We stayed until Saturday morning and when we got to the hospital, he was walking in the hall and feeling great. It is always amazing to me how well people bounce back from surgery. Modern techniques are so much better than 21 years ago. The relief in knowing that he is going to be okay and that he has more good years ahead of him is overwhelming.

On the way home, we stopped for a visit with the grands and enjoyed an hour of talking, laughing and listening to those sweet kiddos. They wanted to know if we had seen their Dada. I told them yes and that he was doing great. Lilly wanted to know if he would still click and I told her I didn't know. The things children ask. Elijah asked if I had been to heaven and come back. Sweet boy, I told him no I didn't go to heaven but before I could explain that it was Gran-gran, both Ella and Lilly told him that was who went to heaven. Then Ella looked at me and said, "I really miss Gran-gran." Such sweetness and love. We got home late Saturday night and this Grammy slept all day Sunday and Monday.

Mother's Day sort of passed me by but knowing that I am blessed with 2 wonderful children and their equally wonderful spouses and the sweetest, cutest, most amazing grandchildren I know, was all the present I needed. And knowing that my son is going to be fine and that the problems are behind us for now was just icing on the cake.

I hope each of you, here in the US, had a wonderful Mother's Day and that you got to send time with family. As I get older, I realize that family is all that matters. No matter what else is going on, family is a precious gift and one that should be appreciated every day.

Thank you for visiting. I'm not making any promises but I hope to post a little more often. I have a few things to show you that I am excited about and I need to catch up with my reading.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Reading challenger 2015

Almost forgot to do a post today. I sort of promised myself that I would do one every Monday to at least record my reading progress, but then we all know how well my promises hold up.  :)

Anyway... this week only has one book:

Bad Love by Jonathan Kellerman

I have a thing for Jonathan Kellerman. I love his books, especially the ones centering on Alex Delaware. Alex is a child psychologist and he works with the LAPD on some cases. His friend, Lt Milo Sturgis, is on the LAPD and he and Alex work together.

In this book, Alex becomes the target for an individual who feels all psychologists have failed him and all children everywhere. At a young age, he was sent to a school operated by a Dr. de Bosch and his daughter for troubled kids. Supposedly, Dr. de Bosch could help them get over their acting out and calm them down. However, as is revealed, his methods caused more harm than good.

Alex's home is burned down, he and his girlfriend Robin are attacked, and without the aid of the French Bulldog Alex found and was taking care of, they might have met their end.

Another great book by Kellerman. I don't think I've read a single book by him that I haven't liked.

2015 reading challenge - 50
Read to date  -  15

I am still plodding along with the CAL at Yarnspirations. I'm up to week 3 with 10 finished and 10 to go. I can only crochet a short amount of time before my shoulder and hand start hurting. But I am determined to finish this even if it takes me all year!

Week 1 - granny squares

Week 2, an X floating on top of the squares

Week 3, edging.

Sorry for the fuzzy photos. I took them with my phone and then sent them to my computer. Anyway, it is going well, even if the 3rd week looks like a hot mess. It's hard to tell from these photos but I'm using blue, gray, green and lilac. There have been 8 clues so far (see how far behind I am) and week 9 comes on Tuesday.

So that's what I'm into at the moment. I ordered yarn to do a Chicago Cubs season blanket and received it today. I got the idea from Lynne at pieceful. She is a big fan of the San Francisco Giants and she is doing a scarf in their colors. The idea is to use the team colors to show the wins and losses for the season. I don't much like scarfs so I decided to do a blanket using Lucy's (Attic24) Granny Stripe pattern. I am using KnitPicks Brava sport weight yarn in Royal Blue, White, Red and Gray.

I am starting and ending the blanket with the royal blue. Wins at home will be royal blue, losses at home will be white, wins away will be red and losses away will be gray. They played their opening game last night and lost at home so after I do the base color of royal blue, I will have to do a row of white. Sad but that's how it goes. Maybe doing the blanket will be some voodoo to help them have more wins than losses. One can only hope.

Have a great week, my bloggy friends. Abby has posted over at It's a recap of last week and you need to go see James. He has a new look.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Catching up

So once again, I fall behind. I believe I just have to accept that I'm not going to post on a regular basis and live with it. I have good intentions but they just don't pan out. Oh well, if you are still out there, thank you for hanging in. If not, then I'm writing for myself and that's okay, too.

I found that I was creeping up on the 25 book goal so quickly that I needed to rethink that. I adjusted it upwards to 50 books. Just have to see how that works.

Since my last reading post, I have read 3 books and failed to take a photo before removing them from my Kindle. See how my mind works? I am either rushing, rushing, rushing, or dragging, dragging, dragging. There is no consistency with me. :)

Miramont's Ghost by Elizabeth Hall

This book was a freebie from Amazon and it sounded interesting so I got it. Amazon has a selection of First Books and the first of each month they send an email highlighting 4 books that are being published that month. You are allowed to select 2 at no cost and I have found several really good books through this.

The story is about the life of a French girl who has the gift of premonition. Her grandmother was also gifted with this and was hidden because people didn't understand. She died after giving birth to her second daughter who is Adrienne's mother. The story follows her as she grows up with a loving grandfather, loving governess and a distant mother. There is also a spiteful aunt in the mix with a self serving cousin thrown in for good measure. It follows her from France to America when her aunt takes her to live with her as a maid.

It was a good story and the ending was a surprise which always makes me happy.

The One That Got Away by Simon Wood.

Another freebie from Amazon. It was a really good book even if some of it was a little too far-fetched. It's the story of a girl's struggle to return to normalcy after she and her best friend are  kidnapped. She is able to get out of her bonds and sees her best friend being tortured. She manages to get away and suffers from survivor's guilt as she tries to live her life on her own terms. Unfortunately the person who kidnapped her finds where she is living and starts stalking her, determined to finish what he started. Action packed. A good read.

The Lost City of Z, a Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann

A total departure from my normal type of book. First of all, it's non-fiction and I don't usually enjoy that genre unless it's a biography or autobiography. Secondly, it flips back and forth between the 1920's and the 1990's. However, I was totally engrossed and could not put it down. The background story of P. H. Fawcett, the explorer the story is about, was complete and allowed me to understand his obsession with the Amazon forest and his determination to find Z. This was his name for a large civilization he believe existed at one time in the jungle and he spent his life searching for it. Most others call it El Dorado. On his last trip, he took his son and his son's best friend. They were never heard from again. The author goes to the jungle to try to trace his steps and to hopefully, find out what happened to Fawcett. I found this book very interesting and intriguing. While it had lots of information and facts, they were presented in a cohesive form that didn't feel like a struggle to understand.

Reading will probably slow down a bit.  I joined a CAL on Facebook through The Crochet Crowd and I'm working to get caught up on that. I am only able to crochet for a little while each time as I'm finding it makes my hands, arms and shoulders hurt. I learned that lesson the hard way last Thursday. There are 20 squares to do for the first week. Easy, peasy granny squares. I made 15 between Tuesday and Thursday.  By Friday, I couldn't move my arms and was in a lot of pain. So Friday was spent sitting in the recliner doing absolutely nothing, no crocheting, no cross stitch, no playing on the computer, nada.  All I could do was read. That's how I finished 3 books in 2 weeks. I finally got all the squares done going slow and taking a lot of breaks. Now I'm up to Clue #2. 

By the way, there are 10 clues altogether and this Tuesday will be Clue #8.  Did I mention I'm a little bit behind???  Oh well, the point of the thing is to learn new stitches and finish, right?

2015 Reading Challenge - 50 books
Read to date - 14


Monday, March 9, 2015

Reading Update

The reading has slowed down a bit here. I find that sometimes I can whiz through books and other times, I just sort of stroll.

That was the case with this book this week.

The Inquisitor's Key by Jefferson Bass.

This author is one of my favorites and I normally devour his books. However, this one took place overseas instead of my Tennessee hills and there was a lot going on. It flipped back and forth between the 1300's and present time and I occasionally found myself having to back a little bit and reread to make sure I understood where I was.

There was a ton of history in this book. I enjoyed that. It's set in Avignon, France, the town Pope Clement I moved the papacy to avoid Rome. The details were wonderful and I felt like I was right there. It centers on a set of bones found in the old papal treasury and the identify of those bones. The archaeologist who discovered them asked for help from Miranda, Dr. Brockton's assistant and then she called Dr. Brockton to come to France.

The back and forth between the identify of the bones and the archaeologist's plans to sell them to the highest bidder (sneaky little booger) brings a lot of intrigue to the story. Also, the back and forth between the centuries gives you a clearer picture of how the story unfolds.

I enjoyed the book; I really did. I don't think Jefferson Bass could write a book I didn't enjoy. However, I'm so use to the settings of the book taking place here in Tennessee or in the neighboring states and I was just confused by the setting, although it did start off in Tennessee. My problem totally. I think you will enjoy this book if you like historical fiction.

I'm closing in on the halfway point of my challenge. It will be interesting to see how many books I do actually read this year.

The Light Between Oceans: M L Stedman

I finished this book tonight. It was so very good that I read it in 2 days. It has been on my to read list for quite a while. 

The story is about Tom and Isabel and their love, marriage and life on an island tending to the lighthouse. It is the most remote lighthouse sitting on Janus Island off the south-western tip of Australia, where the Indian and Great Southern Oceans meet. As one of the reviewers wrote "A moving tale....Prepare to weep." And weep I did. 

I love a story that draws me in and keeps pulling until I am totally immersed in the story. The love and troubles of this couple go far beyond anything imaginable. A heartbreaking loss is followed by the discovery of a tiny child in a boat. This child brings joy and happiness to the island but the happiness will be short lived. What follows is a study of right and wrong, compassion and determination and desperation, A great read and one I highly, highly recommend.

This is her debut novel. She is from Australia and I look forward to her next book. 

2015 Challenge - 25 books
Read to date - 11 books