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!


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.


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.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Looking Back - Moving Forward

I'm back. The past 3 months have been a blur of illness and just general fatigue. One moment I feel great; the next, blah. After enduring the Virus of February and the Cold of March, I endure the Allergies of April. And what an allergy issue it was! It's been a long time since my allergies have bothered me that much. I take two (!) allergies meds, one over the counter and the other prescription, but I think all the Spring bursting forth just overcame them. Along with all the above, I've experience a weird malaise. BUT, I think I'm finally getting over everything, with the exception of my dealings with RA but that's a constant. Enough complaining, right?

While I felt so rotten, I'm been piddling around, cross stitching, watching FlossTube videos on YouTube, watching my beloved Chicago Cubs and trying to do a bit of clean up and clean out. The other night, I noticed that my email folder on my phone was jam packed and needed a good clearing out. So after scrolling 4-EV-AH, I got the bottom and starting reading to see of I could trash them. This is the looking back of my title. There were so many emails from comments to my blog when Mom was ill 3 years ago. (It's hard to believe it's been 3 years since her passing.) All of your comments collected together in one place was almost overwhelming. I felt so much love and caring during that time and I've never forgotten it. Re-reading those emails was emotional but also welcoming. I relived our journey through Mom's illness and ordeal but with a lighter heart than I thought possible. All the comments were full of kindness and concern and they all brought a smile to my face. So once again, I must thank each of you for your friendship, kindness and love during that time.

Now moving forward, trying to get a handle on all the things I've got piling up around here and dealing with the new pain of RA since it has moved to my feet, I'm trying to plan what projects I want to do and how to fit all of them in. My daughter did a great blog on using a planner to get organized. Abby has a full time job now and two little ones, 4 and 1 (yes Sam just turned one, more on that later) and she was getting overwhelmed with everything, so she decided a planner system was the way to go. However, she couldn't find one particular system that worked for her and true to her nature, she took something from here and something from there, and came up with something that works for her. She is much calmer and more on top of things now. I've read this particular post several times but haven't gotten around to implementing it as yet. :)

At the moment I am participating in a SAL as I've been missing my counted cross stitching. The SAL is one of Carolyn Mannings designs and I'm loving it. It's called Granny is not a Square and it's a year long SAL with each part coming out on or around the 15th of the month.

This was last night. Almost finished with part 3 and I'm seriously trying to finish it before the end of April. The next part comes out around May 15 so if I finish now, I'll have more time to start something else. HA! I need to start Sam's birth sampler and that's next on my list. I also have 4 new charts from Carolyn and the fabric ready and I've been asked to crochet a blanket for a twin size bed. I don't usually do things like this. Most everything I crochet or cross stitch is either for me or for a gift for someone. I've never done a commission before but this guy is a long time friend. We go back to elementary school and he understands that it may be Autumn before I get it done. So there's that. I'm also planning to do some crocheting for the grandkids for Christmas. I have one started; a mermaid tail sleep sack. I'm doing 2 of those for the granddaughters. Then I'm going to do a rocket, a dinosaur and a robot for the grandsons. So I've really got to get busy with that. Maybe I need to go back and read Abby's blog post again and get that planner thing going!

As I mentioned earlier, Sam turned one on Sunday, April 23. He is such a bundle of love. He's the last grandchild. I have 5 in total and I couldn't be happier or more in love if I tried. It's hard to believe it's been a year since Sam was born. I was there this time. Sam is the first of my grandchildren who's birth I was able to attend. I had missed out on Ella's due to some forgotten reason (she is the oldest) and just didn't see any of the others. But Sam's mama asked me to be there this time. I wasn't actually going to be in the room until she heard the announcement that visiting hours were over and, in a panic, sent me a text to come back to the room. I told her they weren't going to make me leave as I was in the delivery waiting room but I'm so glad she called me back. I got to watch Sam's birth and cut the umbilical cord. If anyone ever doubted miracles, they wouldn't after watching a birth. I'm still amazed at the process even though I have 2 children of my own.

Less than 1 day old

Shortly before his birthday.

This little man is funny, sweet, oh so smart and has grabbed my heart just like his brother and his 3 cousins. He adores his big brother and they actually play together for a few minutes at a time now. All my grandkids are special but Ella holds a special place all her own because she made me a grandmother. And Sam, sweet Sam, has his own special place because he's the last one. I don't mean that I love any of them more than the other, but there are special places in my heart that these two occupy and always will.

They visited on the weekend of April 8th and it was a crazy place for a couple of days. Children bring life and laughter into a home. Mimi and Papaw enjoyed every second of the visit.

There was belly patting and suitcase sitting and toys everywhere! There was story reading, block building, outside time with Papaw and sweet cuddles if I was quick.

Sam's birthday party is Sunday, April 30 and I can't wait to see how he enjoys it. He's a timid little fellow until he get use to you and then he loves to be picked up for cuddles. I'll be back with a party update.  :)

I've read 26 books so far in my 2017 Reading Challenge. I'm currently reading "The Murderer's Daughter" by Jonathan Kellerman and listening to "A Share in Death" by Deborah Crombie. I just finished listening to "The Missing Ones" by Patricia Gibney. This is her first book and it was excellent. It's set in Ireland and the main character is Lottie, a DI with the Gardai. I believe it's going to be an ongoing series and if the next one is a good as this one, she has a devoted fan. I also finished recently the first 2 books in the #1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Andrew McCall Smith. These are set in Africa, principally Botswana, and they are a delight.

I'll close on that. This post turned out longer than I expected but I guess that's what happens when you wait a month between posts! Next time, I have birthday party news and I'll talk about my TV viewing.

As always, thank you for being here for me and for reading my blog. I love my bloggy friends.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

I've been a bit under the weather this week. Um, let me rephrase that, I've been a LOT under the weather. I've had a really bad cold which has gone from sniffles to sinus problems to a major cold. I've had all the normal symptoms with the added joy of sinus headache and pressure, swollen eyes and aches and pains. I'm still suffering quite a bit but hopefully, by the weekend, I'll be much, much better. The downside is that I won't get to see the grands from Sparta this weekend. I didn't want to take a chance on passing this to them so Abby and I talked about waiting a week. So I've still got that to look forward to soon.

I have been trying to do some work on a few WIP's and finished (!) one. I started a Virus Shawl in February and had put it back while I finished Jellybean's birth sampler. So Saturday night, I made myself comfortable in my trusty recliner, turned on the ballgame (the Cubs, spring training) and started working on it again. I was almost finished so it didn't take long to put in the final stitches. I posted the finished photo on Facebook and got so many compliments. It made me feel wonderful.

I had a problem trying to decide when to end the shawl and finally quit with the above round. I'm very happy with it and I hope the person receiving it enjoys it as much as I did making it.

I am participating in an SAL on Facebook called Granny is No Square by Carolyn Manning. I've had a look at her site and and her designs are amazing. I'm going to have to be very "good" or I will wear out my credit card. This is the first time I've participated in one of these. There is a section each month for 12 months that is emailed by PDF. There are 2 months already and I'm just getting started on the first month. I'm really enjoying doing it.

I'm actually farther along than this and it's very enjoyable. I am going to start on Lollypop's sampler soon but as I told the Hubs the other day, "I've got 3 more years!" hehehe

I'm also going to get back to the Mandela Madness I started last year. I reached a point on one of the rounds that stumped me and I'm going to need to have complete silence to work on it and to slow mo the YouTube video. It, too, is one of those enjoyable projects that had to wait a bit on Jellybean's sampler or I would never have finished it.

My TV watching has improved so much lately by being able to watch what I want and when I want. Right now I'm getting ready for the cycling season to get in full swing and for baseball season to start on Sunday. Lots and lots of time in the recliner enjoying crochet, cross stitching and whatever else I can get into this summer. One of the best things I've found lately is "Midsomer Murders" on Acorn TV, a streaming station. I'm totally hooked and working my way through all the episodes. I'm also getting started on "Stranger Things" on Netflix.  Any suggestions for the next British show??  How about "Murdoch Mysteries" or  "Jericho"?

The reading for 2017 is going great. I just finished "Mississippi Blood" by Greg Iles, the sixth installment in his Penn Cage series. I really, really enjoy his books and try to be sure I get the next each time. My last audio book was "Don and Andy" by Daniel deVise. It was an interesting take on the long friendship of Don Knotts and Andy Griffith and how they came to make "The Andy Griffith Show".  It also tells about the later years and the final days of each. Very interesting. I'm currently listening to "Voyager", the 3rd book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Goooood!

That's all for this week. As always, thank you for visiting and for your sweet comments.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Retirement - Ooops

I had visions of weekly blog posts, crochet projects flying off my hook and cross stitch patterns delighting me with their growth when I talked about finally being able to fully retire. Apparently, my brain retired along with my body and I've been lackadaisical about everything.

It's been almost 3 months since I posted in this blog. Sad, so sad. Many times, I've thought I need to do a blog post and then would get distracted by something and totally forget. I've reverted to the attention span of a 2 year old. I start one thing and something else crosses my mind or I see a blog post or an article and I'm off on another tangent. So I have decided that Spring is to be my new start.

I don't make resolutions as I find that I never keep them so I usually make a list of want to's. I've wanted to read more (check, more about that in a bit), crochet more (check, again more about that), and get back to cross stitching (specifically finish Jellybean's birth sampler and start Lollypop's). I also wanted to blog at least once a week with news from my life and stories from my past. I enjoy looking back (as I am now of an age to have things to look back on) and remembering those things that brought me to this point. I guess 3 out of 4 isn't too bad, huh?

On the reading front, I decided this year to try to do 65 books. Last year my goal was 50 books and I beat it by 3. I set the bar pretty high this year but I thought since I was going to have all this free time on my hands, why not? I also enjoy audio books so that has helped with my goal. As of today, I have read 19 books: 5 audiobooks, 4 library e-books, and the rest Kindle books. I've really enjoyed this venture and I'm reading things I've wanted to read for years along with new books just coming out. One of the best ones I've read this year was "Miller's Valley" by Anna Quinlan.


This is the story of Mary Margaret Miller, known as Mimi or Meems to her family and the struggle she and her family have trying to keep the generational family farm going in the face of the government's wish to flood the valley. I have always enjoyed Anna Quinlen's books and this one didn't disappoint.

I also finished the Stephen King trilogy about Bill Hodges and thoroughly enjoyed them. I use to read everything King put out but he went off on a strange tangent for a while and I just could not stomach those books (specifically, "The Tommyknockers"). I'm happy that he and I have finally come back together and his books have returned to the mysterious genre I feel he does so well.

I'm still working on the Mandala Madness crochet project but I've had to put it into hiatus for a while. I'm currently participating in the Felted Button temperature blanket CAL. I've hemmed and hawed over how to do my blanket and started twice but I've finally hit on a great combination for me. Unfortunately, I've not taken any photos yet but I'll try to revisit in a later blog with photos.

I've also made some hot pads/potholders. I got the idea on Betsy's blog and tracked down the tutorial on YouTube. They are really fun to make and as one of the ladies, whose video I watched said, you can do them without thinking. Fit right in with my current state of mind. 

The pattern I used was "Double-thick Diagonally Crocheted Potholder" and you can find it here These are very easy and make great late night crocheting when my mind is too boggled to concentrate on something much harder.

I've also been working hard to finish Jellybean's birth sampler. I've not been as good about working on it as I should have been but I'm in the final stretch, doing the border, and I hope to finish that today and take it to be framed the first of the week.

This is with one border around it. I'm doing another border outside this one. It's a border width away from the first and is looking pretty good. I fully understand now why designers charge what they do for their projects. It has been a real process gathering together the items and then placing them so they look decent on the finished product. I've scratched my head and banged it against the wall several times. I've also fretted A LOT about whether it was looking all right or whether I should have done something different. All in all, I am really pleased with it and look forward to seeing it framed. Abby loves it and said she couldn't wait to hang it on Jellybean's wall. I do need to give credit to Climbing Goat Designs for the rainbow and to The Compass Needle for the animals. You can find their shops on  They are both great ladies to work with and Claire at Climbing Goat Designs even did a special design for Lollypop for me.

As I told you in an earlier post (way back when), I've ditched cable TV and gone with Roku for streaming apps such as Netflix and Hulu. I'm not much of a sports person but I do love me some baseball, specifically the Chicago Cubs, and I really enjoy cycling races. I have which allows me to see all the Cubs ballgames except the ones played in Atlanta and Cincinnati. I'm in the blackout area for those two cities. I also have NBCSN. It allows me to see many more cycling races than I ever was able to on TV. I also downloaded the Acorn TV app and I'm loving it. I've been watching "Midsomer Murders" and I am totally hooked. I am an admitted Anglophile when it comes to these programs, especially their comedies. I have several other apps which I watch occasionally but the above 4 are my go to ones for enjoying. I am very happy with cable and don't feel I'm missing anything by not having it. There are days I don't even turn on the TV because I know I can watch on my schedule, even the ballgames and cycling, as they are both available for later viewing. And the big plus is that even with the payment for these apps, I'm still saving money compared to cable.

So there you are, all caught up with my slightly delirious retired life, at the moment. I'm looking forward to a visit from Abby, Doug and the boys next weekend. I'll let you know how that goes!

As always, thank you for reading and allowing me to bring my craziness into your life. You are the best.


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Life Sometimes.........

I've just been sitting here thinking about my life in general. I really do have everything I need, well, except for daily visits from the grandkids, but what are you going to do? I have a warm home, a nice bed, food, crochet and cross stitch patterns and projects galore, a sweet hubby who goes to work each day to provide for us and who does the major part of the household chores, freedom to do pretty much what I want when my body lets me and loving family members who will do whatever they can to help me.

All this has reminded me of a time when things weren't so grand; a time when we struggle to get through the month. We had just moved into our home, after 2 months of construction, when I discovered I was pregnant.  We had been trying for almost a year and had finally decided to go ahead and build our house and then try later. Hah! Life sometimes likes to throw a monkey wrench into your plans. We both had decided when we did have children, that I would be a stay-at-home Mom. This was really high on the Hubs priority list. We came from a generation whose Moms were always there; after school, at night, summers. We didn't go to babysitters because Mom was there.

So in February, 1977, we had a little girl. At the time, the Hubs worked for a milk company, delivering milk to stores, schools and restaurants. His pay wasn't a lot; he worked on commission based on the amount of milk he sold at each location. It required 7 days a week work because the groceries didn't pull their milk then; the milkman had to go each day and restock the shelves. I'm not sure what happens now. I occasionally see a milkman in the store, but rarely. He got paid on the 15th and the 30th, so our bills were divided between those two paychecks. It took almost all of the first check to pay the house payment. Then we had to scrimp and make it until the next one and lots of times, the money ran out. I'm not complaining, but stating facts. It's hard to make one paycheck last for 2 weeks when there is so much needing to be dealt with. And the fact that we had a baby only added to the expense. I breast fed, used cloth diapers, went to yard sales for clothes, etc, but no matter how you plan, there's always the unexpected doctor visit, the growth spurt.

But we made it! I don't think I thought about how hard it was most of the time. I loved being a mommy and believe me, she kept me busy. She was all sweetness, most of the time, but she had a temper and a stubborn streak that just grew as she grew. When she got mad, her red hair would stand on end and those blue eyes would shoot sparks. Okay, I'm kidding but not by much.  This child was the joy of my life and the bane of my existence all rolled into one. I couldn't ask for a more cuddly child, a more loving child until she was told "no". Oh my, look out!

The Hubs had been trying, for a year, to get a job as a local truck driver with a major trucking company. This meant more money and better insurance, something we definitely needed. Abby turned 2 in February of 1979 and he went to work for them in November of 1978. I found out I was pregnant in December of 1978. We hadn't planned it that way but like I said, life sometimes.......  There was about a month when we were not covered by insurance because of a 30 day waiting period. The insurance at his old job ended the day he quit. So here we are with a 2 year old, no insurance and I'm pregnant. All you can do is cross your fingers and go with the flow. One day at a time was about all I could handle. I had already calculated the due date and it wasn't going to be in the time frame for the new insurance to pay for it. So each doctor visit, I paid something toward the delivery and had that all paid when Doug came along. He was born August, 1979, almost exactly 9 months to the day that the Hubs started with the trucking company.

Blessings come around in surprisings ways sometimes. We had to finance the hospital bill because we didn't have the money to pay for it. So the Hubs talked to the financial person and set up monthly payments. Those started in September. In February of the following year, we got a check from the OB's office. The new insurance had covered my office visits and since I had paid them already, we got a check for the amount the insurance had paid, which, covered the balance we still owed the hospital.

I know this is a wordy blog post. Sometimes I just feel like I need to write what's on my mind instead of what is happening today. And I also like the idea of writing these things down for my kids so they know something of what life was like back in the dark ages. I'm going to stop now and finish dinner.

As always, thank you for being my bloggy friends. I will never be able to tell you how much each of you mean to me.