Thursday, October 19, 2017

Back again

Hello, fellow bloggers! I'm back and I'm ready to talk.

I am sorry to say that my old laptop bit the dust. The hard drive was BAD and it was going to cost $200+ to fix it. I decided a new laptop would be a better investment and ordered a new one from Dell for $250. This one is smaller and lighter and so far, I'm very happy with it. I spent yesterday afternoon getting use to it and downloading programs that I had on my other one. It will be a learning experience......again. I might be getting too old for all this.

So what have I been up to since my last post? Well, I'm getting out more and I'm (gasp) shopping. Yep, I'm going into stores and looking around. Have no fear though, my avoidance of shopping is still firmly in place. I'm just having to find sheets and blankets for my smaller bed. I was sleeping in a king bed and it was just too big. Due to differing opinions of mattress firmness (me medium, him firm), my using a C-Pap and the fact that he's all over the bed and SNORES, the Hubs and I sleep in different rooms now. I wanted a smaller bed to have more space and I really, really, really wanted an adjustable bed. I bought a full size (or double) and I've had a really hard time finding sheets and blankets for it. There are tons of queen and king size and a good assortment of twin, but full seems to be an unwanted size these days. As my daughter said, most people do have a queen or king bed and twins are still in use for children. That's the way I roll bucking the system.  Ha!  Anyway, I bought some microfiber sheets and I love them. They are so soft and cuddly. With the head of the bed raised to a comfortable level, I sleep so well. I'm a happy sleeper, finally. AND it has a night light under the bed so when I get up at night, I can turn it on and make my way to the bathroom without any problems.

I've also been able to catch up on some chores that have been neglected lately. I'm slowly working my way through a list of jobs and there is quite a bit of satisfaction in marking those things off. Of course, I'm constantly adding things so it's a never ending list. And I'm walking to the mailbox everyday for the mail without having to stop and without being out of breath. This pacemaker is starting to be worth it.

I'm also cross stitching a lot. I'm currently working on Sam's birth sampler and I've told myself I need to work only on it until it's finished. I'm pretty happy with the design I've chosen and all the different pieces are coming together quite nicely.

I've done some work on some of the SALs. I really do enjoy Carolyn Manning's designs and she has so many different SALs. I just got the latest one, "The Scrap Happy Crazy Quilt" and I'm really looking forward to doing it. The design offers 4 different options for each section and it runs from November 2017 to December 2018. There are 44 sections with 176 choices. Here is a photo of the cover sheet. Please excuse the shadows.

I'm really looking forward to starting this. I'm planning on doing all 4 options (mixing them up) in 4 separate pieces and then having them framed together. It will be a bit of an undertaking but I think it will be a beautiful effect.

I'm also working occasionally on the "Granny is no Square" SAL. I have finished putting in all the basic outlines and I'm currently working on adding the major border and the individual squares' borders.

I'm enjoying, well, maybe that's the wrong word, I'm anxiously watching the Cubs-Dodgers series. My beloved Cubbies won the 2016 World Series last year and they are in the League Championships again this year, playing the same team as last year. Currently they are down 3 games to 1 and they have to win the next 3 to move on to the World Series against the New York Yankees. Fingers crossed they make it again.

The weather is full on Fall. With highs only in the upper sixties (at the moment, it's 63 at 12:45 PM) and nights dipping down into the 30s, it's been chilly for me. We've had frost warnings the last couple of nights. The high today is suppose to be 71. We'll see. The trees in our yard aren't really turning; they are just dropping their leaves. I've seen some turning but not much. I'm not sure this will be a good year for leaf viewing in our area.

My sister, niece and I are going to the local theatre production of "The Rocky Horror Show" on Saturday night. I've never seen the movie and I'm excited to watch the play. Our local group puts on some really amazing productions. Last year they did "Spamalot" and it was wonderful. We're also going to see "The Wizard of Oz" in November. This is one of my favorite movies and in truth, my sister hates it. But we are all looking forward to the play.

So that's all for me at the moment. I'm planning on cross stitching today and resting from yesterday. I've learned to go at that pace with RA. I'm in a really good place at the moment with only some occasional pain, mostly in my right hand and wrist and in my toes. I've already made the beds and picked up a little bit, so an afternoon in my stitchy chair will be a good thing.

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Happiness and love is sent your way.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Back soon, I hope

My poor laptop has been having issues this week so I had to take it to the computer hospital. I'm doing this on my tablet and it's beyond annoying. I'll post a catch-up post as soon as I can.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A Short Poem

The GP's went down to GA,
They were looking to spend some time,
With the grands while their Mom and Dad
Went off to unwind.

Papaw and the grands rode bikes,
played outside and took a hike.
Grammy fed, both the kids and dog,
and slept each night like a log.

When it was time to head back home,
the littles started to moan.
I think they liked having us there,
But we had to rest our bones.

We'll be back, we told them,
But now we must go home to rest.
Three little ones hugged and kissed us,
We certainly are blessed.

Saturday, September 16, 2017


Hello there blogging friends. I'm back with another post. Please, deep breaths, relax. It's really me after only a week.  :)

How have y'all been? I hope everyone is safe after Harvey and Irma. If you are in the Northwest, I hope you are out of the path of the fire. Here in Hillbilly country, AKA East Tennessee, we are experiencing winds and rain from Irma but nothing of the proportions folks in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina felt. I'm absolutely ready for fall but not wet and windy.

I'm getting better every day. I actually went to Walmart yesterday for the first time in probably a year. I didn't use an electric cart. I knew what I wanted to get and that was the extent of my shopping. Straight in, grab the things and out. Then I went to the grocery and I did use the electric cart there. After Walmart, I thought I shouldn't push it. Two stores in one trip! I told the Hubs last night when he came in and he said, "I'm glad you were able to do that!" When I asked if he was glad because he didn't have to go grocery shopping as much, he said that was part of it, but he was mostly glad that I was able to get out and do these things. I think he's been worried about me!  :)

I got the sweetest photo from Abby the other day. She had taken James and Sam to the library and James want to take Sam to the play area.  Isn't this the cutest photo??

It makes my heart melt!

I've been cross stitching like crazy. I'm back in my happy place. I've totally lost any desire to crochet and that's really too bad as I had planned on making the grands snuggle sacks for Christmas. However, I've fallen out of love with them and they seem more like a chore than a pleasure so they won't be made this year. Maybe next year or I'll totally do something else. I have another plan up my sleeve, one which I think will go faster and be happily received. We'll see how that works.

I got happy mail last Thursday. I bought Lizzie*Kate's Christmas Mystery Sampler and I received the first part. I love doing these samplers. This year, I went with 16 count fabric and I'm really enjoying it. I'm not a linen or evenweave person. Aida is my friend as my eyes get older and personally, I think it looks just fine. 

Tuesday, I started:

Wednesday I did more:

There's a big debate on Facebook about not showing any of the sampler until the next installment comes out because it ruins it for those who haven't gotten theirs yet. Some don't even want it shown until all the installments have been mailed. I don't go on Facebook much anymore except to check out some cross stitch sites and personally, I don't have a problem with anyone posting their work. Even if I hadn't received mine and gotten started, I would enjoy seeing others' work. But then, I'm usually a laid back, live and let live type of person. BTW, I'm also on Instagram and post there quite often. I'm @grammybraxton. 

Just getting around to posting this today, Saturday. I had to have cavities filled on Thursday afternoon and it knocked me down. I didn't realize how sore I would be but Friday morning my jaw was swollen and the joint ached. There was a lot going on in there and I have a small mouth, so room is at a premium. I didn't manage to do much at all Friday and when I was falling asleep in my chair at 6:30 PM, I decided it was time to put the ole gal to bed. I woke up at 7:30 this morning after 13 solid hours of sleep, and I do mean solid.

That's all for now. I'll get this posted and try to get chores done before my Cubs play the Cardinals. As always, thank you for reading my blog and commenting.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Better and better and better

Hi there, folks. I missed last week. I was going to post last Thursday but then I realized that I had my follow up appointment with my pacemaker doctor on Friday so decided to wait until after that. And then life got in the way and I *ahem* forgot.

Anyhoo, here I am and I am doing wonderfully. I had a good report from Dr. Mehta. He was very pleased with my healing, my pacemaker check was great and he released me to go back to my normal activities, except for lifting anything heavy for the next couple of weeks. That's not an issue anyway because both of my shoulders are junk and I can't lift over 10 lbs, so there you are. He also released me to drive and okayed our weekend in GA to stay with the grandkids. So I'm back to my normal goofy self and enjoying every moment of each day. One of the most noticeable changes I have experienced was going to the grocery and actually walking through the aisles. I had been using the electric carts because it was a struggle to buy just a few groceries. I had actually stopped going to any stores because it exhausted me so. But I'm on a roll now. I'm even able to do housework again (Yay, said in a sarcastic voice) and to start getting the house back together. My husband's favorite is that I'm cooking again!  HA!

I finally got over the painful shoulder issue. Abby pointed out that I was probably holding that arm in a protective mode because of the incision and when I realized she was right, I relaxed and boom! no more stiff shoulder. I've been cross stitching like a mad woman but I'm putting that aside for now. I have 5 Christmas presents to crochet and I'm determined to get them done before Christmas. So as much as I love my cross stitch, this Grammy has to buckle down and get busy.  BTW, I'm on Instagram now so if you would like to see what I'm up to, I'm grammybraxton.

I've recently gotten interested in making cards using cross stitch. I got a subscription to "The World of Cross Stitch" and it had a free birthday card kit. My niece's 17th birthday was coming up on 8/30 so I sat down and stitched it up quickly and put the card together. She loved it! I had posted a photo of the cross stitch, "Herbert Hedgehog" on IG and she was the first one to like it. She was so excited when she got the card, she posted it to all her friends. Made this old aunt smile and smile.

I adore this little hedgehog. I joined a Christmas Card exchange also so I'm looking through books to try to find just the right stitching.

This is the "Granny is no Square" SAL that I'm doing from Carolyn Manning Designs, along with 3 or 4 more. I love her designs and I'm hooked on her SALs. As I said earlier, this have been put aside for now and she has 2 more SALs starting in the next couple of months, but the nice thing about them is that you can work at your own pace. So winter with be full of stitchiness around here.

I've also been reading quite a bit. I like to listen to audio books while I work or stitch and I've been listening to a series by Charlaine Harris. She writes the "Sookie Stackhouse" books. The series I've started is the "Aurora Teagarden" ones. I've read 4 of them so far and I really have enjoyed them. Poor Aurora, or Ro, seems to be a magnet for murders and gets involved in some bizarre cases. She is a part time librarian in a small Georgia town close to Atlanta and gets herself into some really hilarious messes. There are 10 in the series so far so I've got some good reading ahead.

I'm also working through Deborah Crombie's Duncan Kincaid and Gemma Davis detective series. I read one or two of them years ago and discovered them again this year. I'm actually getting them through the ebook system at our local library. Kincaid is a DCI with Scotland Yard and Davis is his sargeant. I am an admitted Anglophile and anything I can get my hands on regarding England, Scotland, or Wales, I grab and devour.

My reading challenge for 2017 is moving right along. I've completed 45 of my 65 goal.

I guess that's all for now. I need to get up and get going again on the house. As always, thank you for reading and for being my bloggy friends.

Love and hugs,

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Me and My Pacemaker

Happy Thursday, everyone! I am happy to say that my new pacemaker and I are getting along splendidly. Well, except for the itching, and the ache in my armpit, and the inability to shower since I can't get the area wet for a couple more days, and the inability to drive until I see the doctor a week from tomorrow, and the fact that I'm not bursting with energy as I expected. Hmmm, methinks maybe there is a problem with my new relationship. Actually everything is going fine and on track for full recovery. I am now a full fledged, card carrying member of the pacemaker club.

I had the surgery on Monday, August 14, and I have to give kudos to the staff and doctors at Fort Sanders Hospital in Knoxville, TN.  Everyone was so nice and professional. I'm afraid I was my normal goofy self but I was told that I was a very enjoyable patient because I laughed so much. I was under the impression that this was a relatively simple procedure, though serious. I had expected an 1-1/2 to 2 hours in the OR and to not be fully asleep. However, the surgery took closer to 4 hours, and I was fully anesthetized. I have had 3 knee surgery, 2 rotator cuff surgeries and had my gall bladder removed, but I've never been aware of being put to sleep. I've usually been given something to relax me toward sleepiness and only remember the operating room twice.

This time I was fully awake and aware when the nurses took me in. In fact, we had a race to see how fast they could get there. Apparently there is a small rise leading to the OR and they have to move quickly to get up it, especially with this large body of womanhood (or as I told the nurse helping me to get ready, I'm a big mamajama!). It looked like we were going to run straight into the wall ahead of us and I said, in rather a surprised voice, "You're going to hit the wall!" No fear, those girls had good brakes. So I went into the OR giggling about fast drivers and walls. The anesthesiologist wanted to know what was so funny so I told him. I had all of them laughing by the time I was done. Another thing I've never experienced is the mask that is put over your face when you are being put to sleep. Again, I've always been pretty much asleep before that. So when he started toward me with the mask, I asked what he was doing. He explained that it was how I would be put to sleep and then asked if I was bothered by things on my face. I told him I use a C-Pap at night so I had no problem. 3 deep breaths and I was out.

When I woke up, my left arm was in a sling, my throat was sore, and I had a new incision covered with strips of tape, and I was hurting. That was soon dealt with and I went back to sleep for a bit. Next time I was full aware, I was in a room and all my family was gathered round. Well, except for my son, he had waved at me when I was on my way to recovery and told me he was heading home. I waved back and croaked out for him to be careful.  My daughter headed home soon after I got into the room and she knew I was okay. Again the nurses on the floor were wonderful and I never needed for anything. They were right there each time. They kept a careful check on me all night. I got to come home the next day almost exactly 24 hours after I had checked in. Oh yes, the sling was removed Tuesday morning and my throat was much better. I had very little pain and what I had was easily controlled with pain meds.

So 10 days out and I'm doing fine. I'm noticing some pain in my left shoulder but I think it's a combination of things. I have RA also (which might be a factor in my heart block) and the shoulder joint on my left side is very bad, to the point of needing a shoulder replacement. I've been putting it off for almost 9 years now because the orthopedist said I would know when I was ready and he didn't want to rush it. So I think the stress of the surgery, the stress to my body in that area, and the shoulder thing are combining to cause the pain. I've noticed it more so when I've been using my arms. I was told not to raise my arm above my head until I see him again. Most likely, it is, as my daughter said, that I'm protecting my left side subconsciously and stressing the muscles. I don't have any pain at the incision site and haven't had any pain medication for over a week. I guess I am a "tough ole bird".

Take care, my bloggy friends. As always, thank you for stopping by.


Monday, August 7, 2017

What's Happening

Hello, my friends. It's been longer than what I intended between posts. This summer has had its ups and downs and I'm afraid I haven't been coping very well.

For quite a while now, I've been experiencing fatigue each and every day. Some days were better than others but I still tired very easily and couldn't seem to get anything done. It's really hard to do anything when after only a few minutes, I was so tired, all I could think of was sitting in my recliner or taking a nap. Now I love to sleep. I am known for my naps in the middle of the day and for sleeping in most days. I'm a night owl to the nth degree and since I no longer work, I had not been bothered by staying up until 1 or 2 AM and then sleeping until 9 or 10. However, the amount I have been sleeping this summer is out of control.

Over the past month, the fatigue and sleepiness has increased to the point where I have been doing nothing. I have fallen asleep in the recliner more days than I can count and have barely been able to do laundry or load the dishwasher without feeling drained.

Everything came to a head on Friday, July 28. I was reaching for a dish in the cabinet and I got incredibly dizzy, so dizzy that I had to hold onto the counter top to keep from falling. My first thought was that my blood pressure was elevated so I took it to see if that was what was going on. My blood pressure was fine but my heart rate was in the upper 40's.  I've always had a pretty high heart rate in the upper 80's most of the time so this scared me. I kept checking it over the weekend and it ranged from a low of 38 to a high of 70.

Monday morning I called my primary doctor and asked for an appointment. I thought this was something I needed to get checked. It turns out I was right. She did an ECG and blood work and scheduled an appointment with a Cardiac electrophysiologist (or eps) on Wednesday. My ECG showed skipped beats and probable heart block. Thankfully all my blood work was fine. I was concerned that my thyroid was acting up which can cause this issue but that was not the case. As you age, your heart will slow down and sometimes go into heart block so that's my problem. I'm just old.

Anyway, I saw the Cardiac Eps on Wednesday; a very nice man who is new to this area and one who my primary is very impressed with. I was impressed also. He looked over my ECG and blood work and listened to me. I also have a heart murmur which I've probably had most of my life. It became more prevalent after my children were born but has never caused me any problems. To double check that the aortic valve wasn't an issue, I had to have an Echocardiogram before I left the hospital.

I am having a pacemaker implanted on Monday, 8/14. I will have to stay in the hospital overnight just to make sure everything is working correctly. I'm a little nervous about this but I am trying to be positive and think about how much better I will feel once this is in place.

My son, who was 38 on Sunday, 8/6, has had a pacemaker and artificial mitral valve since he was 14. He is almost totally dependent on his pacemaker and just last year, had a larger one implanted and a new mitral valve as the original one was leaking around it quite a bit.  When I called to tell him about the surgery, he told me it would be fine but that I would be SORE. Then he described what has to be done to make the pocket for the pacemaker and then how painful the incision will be. I'm not sure I needed to hear all that but I've always been one who wants to know all the details up front so I'm ready for what happens. He laughingly said, "You just had to be like me, didn't you?"  UH, nope, son, I would pass on that if I could.

So there you have it, my big excuse for not writing a blog post. I've thought several times about sitting down and doing one but I just didn't have the energy or the thought process to put words in order.

I'll be back after the surgery to let you know how things went. Getting old ain't for sissies but I sure wish it would ease up on me a little.   :)

Thank you for being there, my bloggy friends.  I'm getting in a lot of stitching and crocheting time, so maybe I'll have some progress to show you next time. Until then, take care and enjoy life!