Thursday, December 8, 2016

Brighter Days Ahead

Time to be optimistic. November was basically a lousy month! We had to say goodbye to my SIL's father, a man who never met a stranger. He and his wife, Becky, welcome us into their lives when our children were married and we have felt this loss deeply. He passed away on November 19 after battling cancer. Doug and Abby moved to Sparta, TN, a year ago to be near them and for Doug to start taking over the family business. It is so sad that our youngest grandson will never know his Granddaddy. Jim was a kind, funny, caring soul.

Update on the Gatlinburg fires: two juveniles have been arrested for purposely setting the fires at Chimney #2 which led to the devastation for the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area.  This link will give you some data about that and about the fires. Gatlinburg fires.

So now we move forward. Tennesseans are wonderful people who give and give when the need arises. There have been cars, trucks, vans, semis and every kind of vehicle rolling into Sevier County bring much needed supplies, both for people and animals. Money has been given, all kinds of dog/cat supplies, clothing, towels, personal items, etc. We aren't call the "Volunteer State" without reason. I'm so proud to be a Tennessean right now.  You can't keep up down for long!

There is so much I want to talk about. I just hope my poor little brain will remember it all. This "Queen of Lists" hasn't made many lists lately. I don't know if I'm just getting lazy (lazier ?) or if I can't remember to make the lists. It could be a little of both, I guess.

First off, after at least a year of consideration and research, I have finally cut the cord with my TV cable company. I have been thoroughly displeased with the fact that I watched, at the most, 5 or 6 channels, and yet I was paying for many, many more. Dropping my cable and only keeping internet service will save us over $100 month. There are a lot of alternate services and apps that can be had for that kind of money. I've checked out several different choices including Roku, Chromecast, Amazon fire stick, etc. I settled on Roku Streaming Stick which should be here Tuesday. Then I'll have to get my technological challenged self to understand how to connect it and get the apps I want. I'll be happy for now with being able to watch Netflix on my TV instead of my 10" tablet.

I've been doing very little crochet lately. I did make wash cloths for my GA grands and took them down on Thanksgiving Day when we all got together. I think they were actually more for Trisha. She had mentioned when I was there in August, that she loved the baby wash clothes for the kids but all of them were wearing out. She loved the ones I did. I did 6 altogether, 3 each in green, purple and blue, their favorite colors. Trisha like one style more than the others (I did 3 different types) so I will be making probably 6 more after Christmas in that style.

Both of my granddaughters have birthdays this month along with their Mom. Ella was 8 (!!) on December 2 and Lilly will be 6 (!!) on December 10. Trisha's birthday was Monday, December 5, but I won't tell her age. *smile*  I always send money to the grands along with their card in the amount of their age and this year I cross stitched book marks for the girls with their name in their favorite color. They both are reading very well and have already progressed to chapter books so I thought the bookmarks would come in handy.

I've also finished Jellybean's birth sampler except for the border. I'm stuck on it. I had thought about doing a rainbow border (you'll understand when you see the photo) but I'm now concerned that will be too much. I think it needs to be one color and nothing overly elaborate. Take a look and see what you think:

I'm pleased with it. I want to get it finished and framed before his 4TH birthday. Ha!

Next I will start on Lollypop's and I thought it would be nice if I can do the same border on both. Again, what do you think?

We had a really nice Thanksgiving in GA this year. This is the first time we have celebrated there since the kids moved. They have a lovely home and we all had a great time talking, laughing and eating. We really missed Abby, Doug, James and Sam. They spend Thanksgiving with GiGi (Jim's mother) in Chattanooga. She turned 100 this past summer and they felt since Jim's passing that they wanted to spend that time there. The grands, as usual, played, ran, chased other, etc all afternoon. There was one mishap when Ella and Elijah were running and Elijah fell, ran into the wall, something. No one actually saw what happened but he got pretty upset and almost passed out. Doug brought him to his mama and after some lap time with mama, he went back to playing. On Sunday, Trisha noticed his foot was swollen and bruised. They took him to urgent care and had xrays and discovered his foot was broken in two places. It's hard to believe that he walked, ran and played from Thursday to Sunday without complaining about it. The good news is that he won't have to have surgery. He will be in a boot for at least another week (3 weeks in total). He's young so his bones should heal without any problems. Oh these little ones, it's always something.

So that's it for now. I am trying to get Christmas shopping finished as soon as possible. This year we are buying only for the grands and our niece and nephew, so I'm almost finished. Then I can chill out, read, crochet and cross stitch.

Oh, one more thing. I'm doing the book challenge again this year. My goal is 60 books for 2016. I'm
within 5 books of reaching it. I think it's doable. I'm back to listening to audio books so it's been easy getting the goal. I have always loved them because I can listen while doing other things. I really like them while cross stitching and crocheting. So now what goal should I set for 2017?????

As always, thank you for visiting and being my bloggy friend.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

So much sadness

Our beautiful Smoky Mountains are on fire. Wildfires have burned I don't know how many acres, hotels, attractions, homes. It is so sad to see all this destruction. There are no words to describe how I feel right now. Thankfully as of this morning, there have been no fatalities and just a few injuries.

We have been having fires all around us for the last few weeks, most caused by arson. I truly do not understand the need to set a fire that might cause damage and/or death. There have been 2 arrests that I know of at this time. My first inclination was that they should be made to fight the fires and kept there until they were completed extinguished. I still think that's a good idea except for the fact that these men would probably enjoy being around all that.

The Ripley Aquarium, in downtown Gatlinburg, had to be evacuated last night. A lot of the employees didn't want to leave because it meant leaving all the animals behind, but they finally had no choice. The aquarium is all right as far as I know. Arrowmount, which is a school for artists, again located in downtown Gatlinburg, has been almost completely destroyed.

I watched videos last night of the fire burning right at the road's edge. The spur, that runs between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg through the forest, was totally on fire.

We got some rain last night but it was accompanied by high winds and there wasn't enough rain to help the firefighters. There's an 80% chance of rain tonight and tomorrow. Hopefully, it will happen and knock down this massive fire.

I am far enough away that the flames are not a danger to my home, but everything is so dry because we are in a drought situation. So very sad. It brings home the devastation that folks on the west coast have been dealing with for years. I never dreamed my beautiful mountains would be lost to fire.

That's all I have today. Maybe tomorrow I will be back with news from this month. There's a lot. I haven't been in the mood to post for a while but hopefully, that will change.

As always, thank you for visiting my blog. I wish today's post was filled with happy, jolly news but I just can't. I send each of you hugs and love.

****Edited to add - There have been 3 fatalities so far.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Two months this time instead of 3. I'm getting better. *smile*

Life has a way of sweeping me along and before I know it, a week, a month, and more have passed and I'm scratching my head wondering where the time went. I've been working on some cross stitch projects for the youngest grandsons. Poor James is 3-1/2 and I'm still working on his. I'm about halfway. I'm designing his and Sam's and it's always a trial and error thing for me. I am totally rubbish in the design department but I'm getting there. I have Sam's all lined out and have the parts and pieces ready to start. I've made changes to James' at least 4 times now and I only have the center section finished. I can't say much and I can't post a photo because I want it to be a surprise when it is finished and framed and as you know, Abby reads my blog. So I'll keep stumbling along and when it's finished, everyone will get to see it.

I did take that trip to GA I told you about last time. I went down on Monday and came back on Friday and enjoyed every minute. The girls are in school and Elijah didn't start Pre-K until the week after I was there so I got to spend some one on one time with him. That's a first. He's the baby and there's always been someone else around before. We worked puzzles and he sang and danced for me. He's 4-1/2 and a little mini me of his Dad. That white blond hair and those big blue eyes take me back to when his dad was little. The girls and I did some school work and I actually cooked supper (excuse me, dinner as I was repeatedly told by the grands) one night. My son loves meatloaf and Trisha claims she can't make it. I did some substituting because I didn't want to crush crackers so used Italian seasoned bread crumbs. I think I failed the Mommy test on that one!

Miss Ella - 7 years old. She just get prettier and prettier.

Miss Lilly - 5 years old. This child has the old soul of a kind and gentle person.

And this is Elijah - 4 years old. I tried to upload the video but it wouldn't work.

Elijah asked me on Monday afternoon how long I was going to stay. I told him I planned to leave sometime on Thursday. He wanted to know how many days that was so we counted and came up with 4. He said, "I want you to stay 8 days!" When I told him I didn't bring enough clothes to stay that long, he said that they had a washer and dryer. I love it when my grands want me to stay. Guess they love this old lady!

I have some other news I'm quite excited about. I have been doing books for quite a few years as a self-employed bookkeeper. In fact, August was my 30th year in business. I had stopped doing books for everybody a few years ago with the exception of a non-profit and one other account. I was actually out of business but did these two pro bono just to keep busy. The non-profit, due to some changes in the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) had to close and that has finally wound down with the exception of W-2's at the end of the year. 

The other account was actually my very first client and he will now be my very last client. That just seems fitting, I guess. I have been talking to him for quite a while about stopping and he kept telling me that he needed me and I couldn't stop. Now, his sister, who is a CPA, has moved to our town after a divorce and she's is going to take over the job. She is a great gal and we get along really well so it makes me feel better about turning everything over. I have to admit; I'm a bit possessive when it comes to work I do. I've really never wanted anyone else to work with me with the exception of my Mom and sometimes my daughter.

BUT, it really feels good to know that my time will be fully my time from the end of December forward. At 65, I think it's time to relax and take a deep breath and enjoy the peaceful quiet of home without the rush to get something finished by a deadline.  I have books to read, cross stitching to do, patterns to crochet, naps to take! That last one won't be anything new.

In a week and a half, (on October 6) the Hubs and I will be celebrating 44 years of marriage. That number just blows me away. I am truly thankful for this life I've shared with him. There have been downs (sometimes some really low, low downs) and there have been ups (higher than the clouds ups). But we have persevered and here we are 44 years later. 

Sorry for the rambling post. I wasn't going to write one when I sat down at the computer, but it just seemed like the thing to do. My thoughts seem to be scattered more these days. Too much to think about and try and do for this little brain of mine to deal with.

As always, thank you for being my bloggy friends. 


Friday, August 5, 2016

My, my, my!

It would appear that I've have experienced a loss of blogging mojo. I have thought about it several times in the last few weeks but when I sat down to blog, I found I didn't know what to say. That's rare for me. I always have something to say about the world around me. I'm scant on photos also so this will be a word heavy blog.

Since Sam's birth, I've been back twice, once for a weekend and then for about 5 days. The first trip was for Papaw to meet the newest grandson and the second trip was to help out a little bit. Sam had some issues keeping anything on his stomach and there were several tests done to determine what was going on. Poor little thing was losing weight and his Mama was frantic. They finally saw a pediatric gastroenterologist who determined Sam was fine but he has a slow tummy. He suggested adding rice cereal to his formula and Abby is now completely dairy free as she is nursing him also. When she has added dairy back to her diet, even in small bits, he seems to react and spit up more.  I'm am hoping he is not going to be dairy intolerant; that he will grow out of it, but we'll just have to wait and see. James is such a great big brother. He really loves Sam and will lie in the floor and talk to him.

While I was there, I did hold Sam but I mostly played with James. It makes me so happy when James sees me, smiles that sweet smile and says, "Hi, Mimi". Of course when Papaw is around, all of James' focus is on him. That boy LOVES his Papaw. Anyway, I learned a great deal about dinosaurs and heavy equipment (trucks, back hoes, bulldozers, etc) while I was there. This boy can give you details on heavy equipment that amazes me. He was pointing out the hydraulics on a loader on day and I asked him what hydraulics did. He explained it very well and let me tell you, I was amazed. Abby and Doug don't have cable or dish to watch TV but they do let James watch YouTube videos and right now, it's all about "Mighty Machines". He retains so much from these shows. He also loves books which makes his Mimi very proud. He loves being read to and also, sitting in his room looking at the books. Abby says he makes them read books over and over until he has them memorized so that he can read them to himself. And he's 3 years old. Kids are so smart today.

Next week, I am going to GA to see the 3 oldest grand kids. I've not seen them since February and I miss them so much. I'm keeping fingers, toes and everything else crossed that I don't have pain issues or get sick before Monday. I'm also going by myself, something I haven't done very much. My Mom use to go with me each time I visited and in the past couple of years, the Hubs has gone or has driven me down and come back to get me later. I've been down a few times solo so I'm looking forward to it. Surprisingly, I enjoy my alone time in the car. I'm going to download a couple of audio books to a USB and listen to them on the road. I'm not enjoying radio much these days. Maybe I'm being an ostrich but all the political issues and the rants have made me just want to shut it all out. So listening to audio books will be a good thing.

BTW, I have a new car!!!! The truck I was driving was in good shape but it was wearing me out getting in and out of it. Even though the Hubs put running boards on it to help me, it was still a struggle to get up and settled. The Impala we had was really needing to be traded or something as it was on its last legs. So we bit the bullet and traded for 2 new vehicles. We actually used the truck and Impala for Hubs' Spark, a new model Chevrolet has out. It looks like the runt of the little in a bunt of crossovers! It really is cute and gets great gas mileage and that's was the main objective as he drives 50 miles one way to work each day. I got a 2016 Chevrolet Equinox. I LOVE IT! I don't love the car payments but I will happily pay them to have the comfort and ease of driving this car gives me. I spent all day one day last week running errands, getting in and out and going all over town, and I was not exhausted. In the truck, three stops were the max before I had to come home. Please humor me while I show you a photo.  LOL

The weather has been hot, hot, hot and I've stayed inside as much as possible for all of July. August is already starting out hot but I'm hoping for some cool down as we slide into Autumn, my most favorite time of the year. I love the turning leaves, the blue, blue skies, and the great temps which mean I can open my windows again.

On a much sadder note, I lost my big, sweet, goofy Bandit 3 weeks ago. He was 11-1/2 and his heart just got tired. Having to make that final decision was so hard.  I'm not sure I will ever be able to have another dog. This one took a huge piece of my heart with him. He was truly the best dog we ever had and was so loving.

So I will stop now. I'll be back but I'm not making any promises as to when. :)


Monday, May 2, 2016

Time keeps on slippin', slippin;.......

That old song keeps going around in my head today. I didn't realize it had been 2 months since I last posted. I have been guilty of getting caught up in the day to day stuff on Facebook and losing track of time. I decided that I would take a break and see if I could retrain myself to not spend hours and hours on there. AND, it is better. I rarely go on now except to check on updates for CAL's or to see if any family has posted some news. I've even stopped playing games on FB. I do have some games on my tablet that I play but I've found I can leave them alone for days and not care. Hey, maybe I'm growing up.......Nah, just changing things.

One of the things keeping me away from my blog has been working on items for my grandkids and for the new little one we were expecting in April. I made 4 Chocolate Easter Bunnies for the grands for Easter this year. I haven't made stuffed toys before so this was a new experience for me. I only had to order the yarn and buy the ribbon for their necks. I had everything else here. I probably should have stuffed them more but I will know next time.

They turned out really cute and I was pleased with them. The grandkids liked them, too.

I also finished the baby blanket for Lollypop. I loved working on this blanket. The pattern is Baskets of Rainbows Blanket by Felted Button. She designs wonderful blankets that look intricate and hard but are very easy to do. As this blanket grew, I loved seeing all the colors come together. The border is my own adaptation.

I finished just in time as our little Lollypop arrived on Saturday, April 23. I was privileged and blessed to be present at his birth and I have never been more amazed at anything. Although I have given birth twice, I have never seen the actual process and I wasn't sure I wanted to. But I am thrilled that I was there and saw my newest grandson enter this world. I even go to cut the cord!

So without further delay, allow me to introduce my fifth grandchild, Samuel Kenneth. He was born at 2:26 AM, April 23, 2016 weight 9 lbs, 10 oz and 20-1/4 inches long.

I have needed a week to recover from all the excitement. And I am having some major Baby Sam withdrawals. I need to get better and get back out there to see him. James is warming up to his baby brother and has even hugged and kissed him a couple of times. He told one of the nurses in the hospital, when she asked what he thought, "He's nice."

So there are are, fellow bloggers. I hope this post gets me back in the mojo to blog more regularly. I have been keeping up with you and commenting some. I hope you are still there waiting for me. I miss doing these posts and hearing your comments. Time to get that straightened out!

Hugs to all of you,

Thursday, March 3, 2016

2016 Reading Challenge

I'm at it again. I completed the 2015 Reading Challenge ahead of the game. I read 53 books against a challenge of 50. This year I have upped that challenge to 60 books. So far this year, I've read 11 books which Goodreads says is 1 book ahead of schedule.

I hope this year to keep you guys more informed on what I'm reading and how I feel about those books. So, without further ado, here is the list of books I've read so far:

"A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" by George R. R. Martin
This book was listed as a prequel to the Game of Thrones series. It was interesting but not a really good book. The story line jumped around a bit and I had trouble keeping track of who was who. It's the story of a hedge knight (one who sells his services to anyone needing a knight) and brings in some of the families from Game of Thrones. As I said, it was okay but not one I would recommend.

"The Forgotten Garden" by Kate Morton

Another wonderful book by a now favorite author. I love the way she weaves her stories and this one is by far, my favorite. It's the story of a little girl who is put on a ship in England headed for Australia. She arrives all alone and is taken in by the harbor master and his family. Her granddaughter inherits her home and a suitcase which was the only possession she arrived in Australia with. The granddaughter begins a journey to find out who her grandmother really was and finds much more. It is beautifully written and will tug at your heart. I truly did not want it to end.

"The Talisman (#1) by Stephen King

To be perfectly honest, this book wasn't started this year. I think I started it over a year ago and just finished it. It had its moments and I did enjoy parts of it but again, unless you are a huge Stephen King fan, I don't think I would recommend it.

"The Secret Keeper" by Kate Morton

This story took me by surprise. It starts in the middle past, then moves forward to the now, and then back again to the far past. Even though it jumped around, I had no problem following the story line and was very surprised at the ending. It is set in England and tells the story of a mother's past and her deep, dark secret. One daughter, a famous actress, starts researching and finds another side of her mother. Very, very good.

"Killing Jesus" by Bill O'Reilly

This wasn't on my to read list but I was intrigued by the synopsis on Goodreads. I must say, Mr. O'Reilly did a great deal of research and uses many sources, including the Bible. The book details the events that lead up to the murder of Jesus and all the changes that occur that made it necessary. While I have a firm belief in God, I have no trouble reading books like this. I feel that we should be open to all information and to read and discern for ourselves what of that information to keep and what to toss away.

"Death Comes to Pemberly" by P. D. James

"A rare meeting of literary genius: P. D. James, long among the most admired mystery writers of our time, draws the characters of Jane Austen’s beloved novel Pride and Prejudice into a tale of murder and emotional mayhem.   It is 1803, six years since Elizabeth and Darcy embarked on their life together at Pemberley, Darcy’s magnificent estate. Their peaceful, orderly world seems almost unassailable. Elizabeth has found her footing as the chatelaine of the great house. They have two fine sons, Fitzwilliam and Charles. Elizabeth’s sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live nearby; her father visits often; there is optimistic talk about the prospects of marriage for Darcy’s sister Georgiana. And preparations are under way for their much-anticipated annual autumn ball.   Then, on the eve of the ball, the patrician idyll is shattered. A coach careens up the drive carrying Lydia, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister, who with her husband, the very dubious Wickham, has been banned from Pemberley. She stumbles out of the carriage, hysterical, shrieking that Wickham has been murdered. With shocking suddenness, Pemberley is plunged into a frightening mystery.   Inspired by a lifelong passion for Austen, P. D. James masterfully re-creates the world of Pride and Prejudice, electrifying it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly crafted crime story, as only she can write it."  (Goodreads)  I thought this gave a much better description than I could. P. D. James died in 2014 at the age of 94 and she wrote right up to the end. I have enjoyed many of her books.

That's the first six I read this year. I was afraid if I did all 11, this post would get too long. As you can see, my reading is all over the place. I'm enjoying one right now that is set in Cambodia. I do need to say that all the books I've read so far this year, with the exception of 2 or 3, have been borrowed from my local library through their e book program. When they become available, if I have them on hold, I get an email and download from Amazon. It's a great program, free books and I don't have to get out in the cold, snow, rain or hot weather to go get them. Great solution!!!

That's all for now. I've made great progress on the Easter surprise and as soon as they are finished and mailed off to the kiddos, I will swamp you with photos. *smile*

Hugs, everyone

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hello......It's me.....

Okay, I admit it, I love Adele! And her latest just seemed to fit.

How is everybody?? I sort of lost January and almost February but I'm here, alive and kicking. January was a really blah month and it passed by without me really noticing it. I'm not a happy camper when it's cold, wet, snowy, sleety and January and February have been all that and more.So I'll just skip on by January and move on to February, if you don't mind.

February has been a really full month both in celebrations and in medical issues, not me, thank goodness. My sister started the month having gall bladder surgery after having been sick for 2 months, She is doing much, much better although a little slow recuperating, February 4th saw us in Atlanta at Emory Hospital with my son having more surgery. This time, he was having plugs removed that had migrated from his leaky mitral valve in an earlier surgery. Luckily, they traveled south and ended up in his femoral artery in his groin area and in one of the iliac arteries in his stomach. The surgeon was able to remove both through a catherization procedure so he didn't have to have an incision in his stomach. He is recuperating very well and is back at home with his family and back at work.

The 13th of February was a big day for me. I turned 65!!! I'm officially a member of the old folks' club but I don't intend to act my age for a single moment. We have a slew of birthdays in February. Jellybean turn 3 (!) on February 9, Elijah (GA grandson) turned 4 on February 10, my daughter got a year older on the 12th, and then me. There's an uncle and a couple of cousins who also have birthdays in February.  And a big shout out to Gracie Saylor who also had a birthday in February.

I've been doing some crocheting but haven't been hugely productive. I'm trying to remedy that.

I made a baby blanket for a cousin who is expecting her first baby, a little girl, in March.  I used "Call the Midwife" pattern and fell in love with it. I also made a tiny hat.

I also made a pair of fingerless mitts for our postal carrier. She goes above and beyond lots of times for me and I just had to do something for her. She is the sweetest gal and she was so happy with the mitts.

Here is a teaser of the baby blanket I'm making for Lollypop. I can't show you everything because I'm not letting Abby see it until it's finished. I'm hoping that is soon. Boy, that's going to be a lot of ends to weave in.

And I have to show you my sweet, sweet hare who traveled all the way from France to come live with me. Meet Miss Rosehip. Stephanie at Millefeuilles made her especially for me. I adore her. She shares my office/craft room with me and keeps watch over all the yarn and cross stitch projects. 

I'm also working on a surprise for the grandkids for Easter but again, since Abby reads my blog, I can't show it to you yet. I'm enjoying it a great deal, I can tell you that. I'm famous for planning these things and then not quite getting them done for the specific time I want them. Keep your fingers crossed that this time I am able to do a better job.

I will close now. It's so good to be on here and talking to all of you. Stay warm or cool, whichever applies and have a wonderful weekend.

Hugs to you all,