Saturday, September 16, 2017

Ramblings

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.

Hugs,
Sharon


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,
Sharon



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.

Hugs,
Sharon


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!

Hugs,
Sharon

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Oh Dear!

Goodness, how has it been so long since I posted? Maybe, because I've been extremely lazy? Probably! Maybe because I've been feeling down a little bit lately? Most likely! Maybe because I've gone from feeling super good to feeling draggy and just not right to feeling super good again? Who knows?

Anyway, here I am. If I have any followers left, HI! A special thank you to Gracie. My daughter told me you were following her now and she thought your comment was so sweet. You made her day.

What have I been up to? Hmmm, good question. I'm back to my favorite craft - counted cross stitch and I currently have 5 projects underway. I've have never been a rotation stitcher. I've always, well mostly, stitched on one project until it was finished and then moved on to something else. However, I discovered Caroline Manning Designs earlier this year and she is doing a lot of SAL's. I realize I probably have already talked about her and hopefully shown you one in progress. I'm doing 4 of her SAL's and then working on Sam's birth sampler. I got a little bit annoyed night before last. I had picked up the sampler to work on and though I counted and thought I had my center, apparently I have forgotten either how to count or how to divide, because halfway through the part I was stitching, I realized it wasn't going to be centered. As with James' sampler, I making Sam's up from different patterns and putting it all together in one piece and that requires a lot of math to get everything looking right. I've been a bookkeeper all my working life and I must have forgotten my math skills when I retired!

There's no photo of Sam's sampler as I really don't have enough done to show. But I've been working on the Granny is No Square SAL and I'm up to part 4 on it.


And that's a Chicago Cubs baseball game in the background. I spent a happy Wednesday afternoon a couple of weeks ago enjoying two of my favorite pastimes.

I've also started on the Secret Summer Garden Labyrinth SAL and got a little bit done on the border and part of the first row.


The other two have starts but no photos. I'm rubbish at taking progress photos. I need to do better.

A couple of weekends ago, the maternal side of my family had a family dinner. We so seldom all get together now that it was fun to see everyone and get to visit and eat! My son came in with his 3 kids and my daughter came with both her boys. Their respective spouses couldn't attend but it was so great having all my little family here together.  Doug came up a couple days early and we had a great visit. We have limited sleeping space since we have commandeered the extra bedrooms for crafty and computers. But we worked it out. The girls slept with me and Doug and Elijah slept on an air mattress in the living room. We had such a great time. This is first time in 3 years that they have been here and they had a ball. They were fascinated by the garden.  Lilly even picked me some green bean flowers! So we had a lesson on growing things and how beans grow from the blossoms.  I suggested that maybe she shouldn't pick any more flowers in the garden and she, happily, said okay. It was just too funny. Doug took them to the local park on Friday so they could run and play and get some of their energy out and give Grammy a rest.  They left after the dinner on Saturday but not before all 5 grandkids got to hang out at Grammy and Papaw's.

Abby came in on Saturday in time for the dinner and stayed Saturday night. James is becoming a determined 4 year old and Sam is just getting sweeter. James will sometimes play with Sam and other times, he doesn't want to share. Sam kept picking up some of the cars and blocks James was playing with and James would take them back and say, "No, Sam!", I found this so funny, but then Sam looked around and picked up a car, held it up, and then jerked it around behind him, all the time looking straight at James. I lost it. Sam is still a snuggler and after all the running and playing he did at the dinner, he snuggled up to me and we covered him in a light wrap and he went off to sleep. Was this Mimi happy????? Does the Earth circle the Sun?????  (Sorry for the huge expanse of white leg, but holding a grandbaby is more important than being stylish).


And Papaw was in high cotton because he had all five hanging around him most of the weekend. He was so delighted and it showed. Even 4 can be a handful. There's a boat dock at the park where we had the dinner and he and Doug took Ella, Lilly, Elijah and James down to feed the fish. He usually looks slightly overwhelmed when he has them all doing something, but he loves it.


I adore this photo of the four on my front porch swing.

From left to right - James, Elijah, Ella and Lilly


At the dinner along with the Hubs and Sam.

Okay, I'll stop now. I have more to talk about but maybe if I save it, I'll be back sooner with another post. One can only hope. :)

As always, thank you for being there for me and for reading my blog. 

Hugs, Sharon





Saturday, May 13, 2017

2017 Reading Progress

Last night I was thinking about doing a devoted post to reading and I thought to myself that today's is as good a time to start as any. So, if all goes well, I will do a Saturday post just concentrating on books. It may not be every week but at least it will get me in gear to do it.

According to my 2017 Reading Challenge spreadsheet, I have read 30 books so far this year. I'm almost half way to my goal of 65 and the year isn't half over yet, so I think I'm pretty much on track.

I have become totally hooked on "The 1st Ladies Detective Agency" series and have now read 3 of them. I borrow them from the library through the eLoan program. They are delightful books and I love the descriptions of Botswana. The books themselves aren't very long and I can usually finish one in a couple of days, if I devote myself solely to it. The trouble is I can't seem to read one book at a time. I usually have a book on my phone and my tablet and an audiobook on my tablet.  Anyway, if you haven't tried this series, do give it a try.



All the images will be borrowed from Google as I'm rubbish taking screen shots.

I've also read the first two books in the Duncan Kincaid series by Deborah Crombie. I have a love of English detective novels. These have not disappointed my love. The last one I actually listened to, "All Shall Be Well" was intriguing and I didn't figure out the culprit until the very end. I really, really like that.
All Shall Be Well by Deborah Crombie - Used (Acceptable) - 0060534397

I'm also reading, from the beginning, the Detective Lynley series by Elizabeth George. I discovered these books several years ago but had no idea they were part of a series. So even though I've read probably 6 or 7 of them, I was happy to see that there are currently 19 in the series. So I decided to start at the beginning so I would understand the characters and how they came to be. I have read that there is a British TV series based on these books but I haven't been able to find it yet. I have subscribed to Acorn TV and Britbox on Roku but maybe I'm not looking in the right spot. If any of you know about this series and can point me in the right way, I would really appreciate it.

Image result for a great deliverance

At the moment, I'm reading "Teammate" by David Ross. He retired this year from the Chicago Cubs as a backup catcher and his book is a delight. And of course, anything about my beloved Chicago Cubs is okay with me.

I'm also reading "A Fatal Grace" by Louise Penny, the second in her Three Pines series. Well, actually the series is Chief Inspector Gamache, but the first two are set in Three Pines. Again, a detective series. Honestly, I do read other books but I find this genre tends to be my go to.

And lastly, I'm listening to "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood and read by Clare Danes. I've really only started it but it's getting a lot of hype right now. I believe there's a movie about to come out based on the book and I've seen a lot of reviews that seem to feel it's relevant for our times.

So there you go, a reading update post. I'll really try to be back each Saturday for an update unless I haven't finished any of the books.

As always, thank you for reading my blog. I hope each of you has a wonderful Mother's Day and that everyone enjoys the weekend.

Hugs,
Sharon

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Birthday, Crocheting, and Baseball

On April 30, we went to Sparta to help Sam celebrate his FIRST birthday. His actual birthday was April 23. Abby did a great job decorating using a robot theme. She got a lot of great ideas from Pinterest. Photos? Did you say you wanted photos? Here ya go......



Papaw and Sam wearing robot antennae.




Mama and Sam looking over the robot Mama knitted for him.


I thought I had photos of the table and decorations but apparently I was having too much fun to get that. Head over to Abby's blog, AbbyCrafty, to see the absolutely adorable decorations and her ideas on that last first birthday party.

I am glad to say I am feeling much better. I decided to try adding B-Complex vitamins to my supplements. I read the bottle closely and decided to go for it. After about a week, I was feeling so much better that I thought I would do some research. I have been having severe back pain that kept me from doing simple things such as loading and unloading the dishwasher, moving clothes from the washer to the dryer or even walking to the mailbox. The pain was so bad that I would have sit down for a good while before I could get any relief. (BTW, both my primary doctor and my rheumatologist have stated that my back pain was because of my weight. I realize that losing weight would help my health overall, but to dismiss it out of hand really annoyed me.) I have avoided taking pain meds as much as I can because I don't want to lose the value of them when I really need them. I was shocked to learn that B Vitamins are a great source of relief from back pain and that they also help reduce inflammation. If you know anything about RA, you know that inflammation is the major cause of pain. Stress is a major cause of flares which is a result of the increase in inflammation. I was starting to have aches daily in my hands, elbows and toes. After 3 weeks on B-Complex, I can say that I am having much less back pain, the deep aching in my toes has lessened and my hands are wonderful.
I'm still taking breaks when I crochet and cross stitch, but that just because I really don't want to push it. Believe me, there were be discussions with my rheumatologist at my next appointment.

Crocheting......I've started on Christmas presents for the grands. I'm notorious for wanting to make things for the grands and waiting too late and then procrastinating and never finishing. Hopefully, by starting in May, I'll finish on time. We'll see.

I'm making my two granddaughters mermaid tail snuggle sacks, one in green and one in purple, their favorite colors. I've finished the green one with the exception of sewing it together and have started on the purple one. For the grandsons, I'm doing a rocket ship, a dinosaur tail, and a robot (hopefully). I have the yarn and patterns for the first two but I'm still looking at robot snuggle sacks.

Cross Stitching......I've added two more SALs to my stitching projects. I'm waiting on fabric for both of them and will show photos later when I've managed to get started.

This being retired is soooo much fun.

I splurged this spring and purchased the MLB single team package so that I can watch most of my beloved Cubbies' games. I'm really enjoying that (except when it's shown on FOX and then I just listen to it; I can't stand the announcers for FOX Sports, heehee) and getting to them in action. The only games I don't get to see are when they play in Atlanta and Cincinnati. Those games are blacked out because I live too close to them. 250 miles (approximately) is close????? Oh well, I enjoy the radio announcers so no loss.

I've finished several books and started a couple more but this is getting long so I'll save that for next time.

As always, thank you for visiting and for being such great bloggy friends.

Hugs,
Sharon