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.

Hugs,
Sharon

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
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/mielkes-fiber-arts. 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 Etsy.com.  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 MLB.com 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.

Hugs,
Sharon




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.

Hugs,
Sharon