Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

So 2008 is just about over. We lost two family members this year, Ralph's Uncle Frank and my Aunt Mary, both from long term illnesses. While we're sad to see them go, we hope they're in a better place.

During 2008, Steph moved to her first apartment, and Heather and Ed moved to their 4th house- this one in North Carolina. They all like their new places.

Manda, Ben, Steph and Michael are continuing their education. Joseph just graduated with an associate degree, and is going to continue going for a bachelor. Brittany is planning on starting college. We're proud of them all. Me- the only classes I want to take are quilt classes!

I did a little traveling this year, with trips to Texas and Florida. I finally need more than one hand to count my plane trips!

Manda and Ben were evacuated for Hurricane Ike. Manda was evacuated before, when she was in school in Daytona. She's the only one in the family to ever be evacuated, and we hope to keep it that way.

Ralph and I bought some neat toys this year- I got the HQ16 and a Janome 9700 embroidery machine. Ralph bought a little yard tractor.

Manda and Steph both went on business trips for work, something none of the rest of us have done.

So, goodbye 2008, and welcome to 2009!

Holly

Monday, December 29, 2008

December 29, 1974

That is one of the most important and memorable days of my life. At 0156, our first child was born. We always knew she was going to be a girl, and picked the name Heather early in my pregnancy. I don't think we came up with her middle name, Noelle, until she was born.

Heather was a healthy 8 lbs, 7 oz when she was born. In those days, we stayed in the hospital for 3 days after delivery. I came home on New Year's Day, but she had to stay a few days because of an elevated bilirubin, so basically I came home and cried til she was released. I couldn't stand to go see her and feed her and leave her again, so my brother went up each day. To do it over, I'd be there from morning til night, but at the time I had post-delivery hormones going on.

Heather is now a lovely lady with a wonderful husband and a son and daughter of her own. She is a labor and delivery nurse, and has a BSN from Rutgers. They've just moved to NC, which is heartbreaking for us.

For her 21st birthday I made her a cross stitch sampler, which she has hanging in her bedroom. It reads:

My Daughter

All the things I prayed you'd be
Are all the things you are.
You were once my little girl
and now my Shining Star.

Happy Birthday Heather!

Holly

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The travelers have arrived!

Manda and Ben's flight out of Nebraska got cancelled last night, because of fog in Chicago, so Ben's parent's picked them back up (how anticlimactic is that!) and they got a flight out at 0700 today to Cinncinnati, then to Philly. They got in at 12.30. After having lunch, they napped for a couple of hours, since they had been up since 4 a.m. their time.

Heather and Ed left their house at 4 a.m. and got to Ed's parents house this afternoon.

Tonight a bunch of Manda and Steph's friends are coming over to hang out. Tomorrow Ralph has to work, and Monday we'll do an early dinner, presents, then the whole family is coming over to see everyone and wish Heather a Happy Birthday.

It's mild out, in the upper 40's. It was overcast most of the day.

Holly

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Over the last week I've been making a real effort to say "Merry Christmas". I have a friend who works in a big bank, and the staff is not allowed to use the word Christmas. They have to say Happy Holidays, even if they're responding to someone saying Merry Christmas. They can have disciplinary action taken if they say Merry Christmas. How ridiculous is that?

So when anyone wishes me "Happy Holidays," I've been responding with "Merry Christmas." The usual response is a startled look and a "You too." Our country has gotten entirely too politically correct.

It's finally Christmas Day! Last night Steph, DMIL Florence and I went to Kevin and Naureen's for a Seven Fishes Christmas Eve Dinner. Ralph was at work, as he is today. The downside of working in a hospital. Frank and Charlotte, and Jim and Sharon and the kids- "The Bubbas" as Kevin calls them were there, and Charlotte's mom and brother, and Naureen's parents and sister, and Kevin and Naureen's daughters. We had a lovely evening.

This morning I talked to Manda in Nebraska, and Heather in NC. It sounds like they're both having a nice day, although Manda's started earlier than she'd have chosen. I have sweet potatoes and carrots roasting with dill and garlic to take to Mike's, and Steph is pretending to be awake.

Mom, Steph and I are going to Mike and Donna's for Christmas dinner. Michael is home from Florida for the week, so we'll get to see him.

The ER staff is all bringing in food. Being a guy, Ralph got off easy- he took in 2 bottles of soda. This year, next year to work, and the following year he'll be retired and won't have to work any of the holidays! Then we'll just be working around Heather's hospital schedule.

And the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and it's not real cold out!

Things to be happy about:
I have a wonderful family, every one of them!
Ralph's health remains good!
Ralph's health remains good! (yep, I count that one twice, because it's so important)
My daughter's are all healthy and happy.

Merry Christmas!
Holly

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Eve Eve

That's what my kids always called today. We talked to Manda tonight- she's in Nebraska visiting Ben's family. She said she texted Merry Christmas Eve Eve to Steph this morning. It sounds like she's having fun doing holiday things with the Briles family. And they have snow, which (I'm glad) we don't.

Half day at work today, now I'm off until January 5th! And I finished up the last sewing I had to do last night. Today Ralph and I did some errands, tomorrow I have to do some food shopping, and some of the gifts really have to be wrapped.

Steph gets out at 2 tomorrow, and will come directly here. Toast stayed over, so Steph doesn't have to go home first.

Holly

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

Here's the link to make a wordle. http://www.wordle.net/ You can just type in a bunch of words, or you can have it get the words from a website or blog.

We started out the day cleaning up our house, then Ralph and Steph went to my Mom's with me. She wanted to go into the basement, and the steps are steep and without a railing. She hasn't been down since Dad died, but she wanted to bring up some Christmas things. We ended up spending three hours down there, and filling up 6 large trash barrels! We talked her into parting with John's rusty baby chair (John is 52), but she wasn't ready to part with the rusty tray tables. Baby steps! We were all exhausted when we were done.

One and a half work days til Christmas vacation starts. Today is the first day of Hanakkuh, and the Winter Solstice- the longest night of the year. I just got a new Melissa Etheridge CD of Christmas Songs, and she has a great song about the longest night.

Holly

My wordle!


I got the link to do this from Mary's site. Isn't it cool? It takes all the words in my blog and comes up with this design.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Isn't he the cutest?


This is Eddie, before it got too cold out. Isn't he the cutest kid? He's going to be such a heartbreaker with that red hair and those gorgeous blue eyes. And he's such a sweetie.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Shopping, shopping and more shopping.

I'm almost done! I ordered more things from amazon.com earlier this week, and those things are on the way. Last night Ralph and I made a Sam's club run, and tonight we went out in the cold, dreary rain and went to Target. I have to sit down and make a final list, and get to it.

I'm not sure if we're decorating. The fact that there is no furniture in the dining room is holding everything up, or maybe it's giving me an excuse. (Not that I need an excuse to not decorate!) I'll have to consult with Stephanie this weekend. After all, that which is decorated must eventually be undecorated.

I just finished "Tribute", the newest Nora Roberts. A little slow at the beginning, but then it sucked me in and I didn't want to do anything but read it.

Now I have to think about getting all the gifts in one place and wrapping them.

Holly

Sunday, December 14, 2008

December is moving right along!

I did some Christmas shopping this morning, both in person and on line. I like the online shopping- no lines! And I even went grocery shopping, which I do when we're low on cat food or iced tea mix- the necessities of life!

Joseph was on his way home from work and hit a patch of black ice and crashed his car. The car is totalled, but Joseph is fine- he walked away from it. Cars can be replaced, but there's only one Joseph.

Tomorrow is the funeral for Aunt Mary. We won't be going because my Mom could never get into the church with her walker, and for me to miss work tomorrow would create a hardship for a lot of people. I'll be there in spirit.

Steph and I decided that next fall we're going to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert. We've both heard that it's a fabulous show.

I'm really enjoying the new carpet. Hopefully Ralph will get the electric outlets to his satisfaction tomorrow, so the dining room furniture can get put back.

Goals for this week:
Finish shopping.
Finish a few gifts.
Get the dining room back together.

Things to be happy about:
We're not having a blizzard!
Heather, Ed and the kids will be home right after Christmas.
Manda and Ben will be home right after Christmas.
Joseph is fine.

Holly

Saturday, December 13, 2008


This is Julie playing in the yard, while it was still warm out! She's so cute!

Finally Friday!

Another week over! John was up from Sunday til Thursday, so I got to spend some time with him. The rugs got put in on Tuesday, and look fabulous! We're still putting the house together, and sorting as we do it. Last night I made an inventory of all the DVDs and VHSs we have, as I put them back into the entertainment center.

Eddie has started his new school in NC. Heather said everyone is settling in nicely. I still can't believe they moved 500 miles away.

I got a call from my cousin today, that my Aunt Mary died. Aunt Mary was the widow of my Uncle George, my Mom's brother and my godfather. Their daughter Linda was my flower girl. We didn't get to see Aunt Mary often, which was our loss, as she was just a sweet, nice lady. She will be missed. The funeral is in Philly, on a workday. I know my Mom wouldn't be able to make it into the church, and it's a day that would be hard for me to take off, so we'll send out regrets.

Tomorrow is the Memorial service for our friend Gene. Steph and I are going- Ralph has to work.

And so it goes.

Holly

Monday, December 8, 2008

This is just unnecessary!

This weather! It was like 22 degrees when I left the house this morning. That is just ridiculous! I actually had to put on my winter coat, something I hate to do. And the high today was just over 30!
Even in the house, I just can't get warm. I have socks and a sweatshirt on over my regular clothes, and I'm still cold.

My brother John drove up from Florida yesterday. He said when he was going thru Baltimore the winds were 80 MPH and it was snowing sideways!

I have to go back to emptying the family room, but just had to share the temperature.

Holly

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday Snow!

Not much, actually. Just a dusting, but it's cold, and gray, and windy out. Ralph has the hallway all painted, and the ceiling and top half of the dining room. He's working on the bottom half, which is going to be green. The carpet will be installed on Tuesday.

I spent the morning clearing out the entertainment center and the desktop and hutch. Luckily we had already painted the family room, and it's in good shape. Toast has been helping by barking whenever Ralph makes noise.

My brother John is on his way up from Florida to visit and help clean out Mom's cellar (and hopefully take a bunch of stuff home with him). He left Polk City at noon yesterday, and thought he'd arrive in the middle of the night. Driving a truck with a trailer? yeah, right. He hit ice, and had to stop for several hours, so he got a long nap. We expect him between 3 and 4 p.m.

Heather and Ed have all the trucks and trailers emptied. When I talked to her at noon, she was arranging and decorating. Tomorrow she has to register Eddie at his new school. She arranged Eddie and Julie's rooms similar to their rooms in NJ, and they seem happy.

We have birthdays this month! Ed will be 41 tomorrow, Heather will be 34 on the 29th. Nephew David will be 25 on the 19th.

I finished quilting, binding and labelling the rail fence quilt, which I named Green Tea. It went to it's new home on Friday, when I gave it to my long time friend Carol. Carol has had so much go on over the last three years that she was in dire need of a quilt. She was shocked, and cried a little.

Goal for the week:
Finish emptying "stuff" out of the family room.
Carpet comes Tuesday.
Put everything back in its home.

Holly

Thursday, December 4, 2008

They have arrived safely.

That kind of says it all. Settlement was yesterday, and they didn't leave until 7 p.m. I had been worried about Heather driving Ed's pickup with the kids, towing a trailer. Ed was driving the moving truck and towing her car. At the last minutes, Ed's wonderful dad (also Ed) told Heather to drive his minivan, and he'd drive the truck and trailer. I was so relieved! Heather is a wonderful driver, but that was a lot, and to be on unfamiliar roads, in the dark! So when I talked to her last night at 10, they were near DC.

I talked to her around 5 tonight. She was having trouble with the cell phone reception, so we were only on the phone long enough for her to tell me that they'd arrived 2 hours before, and we starting to unload.

Holly

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Almost moving day

Ralph has been down Heather and Ed's all day, helping Ed load the moving truck. Today was Eddie's last day of school in NJ. Tomorrow morning is settlement, then they hit the road for Albemarle, NC.

My feelings are so mixed. I'm happy for them that they were able to sell the house (no easy feat in today's market) and find a house in NC that they love. I'm happy that Heather has a comparable job to go to, and I'm sure Ed will find a job without much difficulty. Eddie is so sociable that he'll be fine in his new school, and Julianna will blossom anywhere that Heather, Ed, and Eddie are.

But we're going to miss them so much! Even tho we don't see them really frequently, it's no big deal to go 25 miles to visit. Driving 8 hours will be a big deal. We'll all adjust- we adjusted to Manda being first in Daytona and now in Houston, and NC is only a third as far as Houston.

I'm going to be like Scarlett O'Hara, and think about it tomorrow.

Holly

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Holiday weekend

It's been a good long weekend so far, with one really sad note. We got a call this morning that our friend Gene died of leukemia yesterday. I worked with his wife Nancy for years, and we saw them several times a year. Gene was diagnosed in January, and went thru a whole gamut of treatment. He was such a vital person that it's hard to imagine him gone.

The first phone call this morning, at 0630, was from Camp Cooper to see if Ralph would come to work. I was sound alseep, looked over and he wasn't in bed, so I told staffing that he was at work, that he's switched days. Of course, I thought it was Friday, but it was Saturday, so he was really here. Staffing got real confused, and called the ER to tell them that Ralph was there, which of course he wasn't, so they called back and he answered. Since he didn't know I'd talked to them, he was confused by their call. So we were all confused. Just goes to show, if you wake me up, don't expect a rational answer.

Last night Steph and I went to Heather and Ed's, while Ralph really was at work. Jim and Sharon came down with the kids, Chris and Pam and their kids came over, and Charity and Jim also were there. Jay and Kate called Steph, so she invited them down. We all had a nice final visit to the Mays Landing house.. I understand why they're moving, but I'm sure going to miss them.

Today I went to Joann's Fabrics, because batting was half price. Of course I had to buy some Christmas fabric at 60% off! I came home, got Ralph, and we went to Lowe's to get paint for the dining room and hallway, stopped at Chick Filet for lunch. Ralph put a first coat of paint up, while I pinned a quilt on the HQ16. Then I ran out of steam, so I'll quilt it tomorrow.

Goal for the week:
To quilt the quilt on the HQ

Holly

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gobble Gobble!

I've got sweet potatoes in one crockpot, broccoli casserole in another, cranberry sauce made, and I just took the blueberry pie out of the oven. In a half hour we'll leave to pick up my Mom and Ralph's Mom, and head over the river and thru the woods to Mike and Donna's house. Heather, Ed and the kids will be there for a while, then they'll head to Ed's parents' house for dinner.

Little Mike will be at John and Morgan's house for the holiday. Morgan has a rule that you have to have pumpkin pie for breakfast on Thanksgiving. Manda and Ben are going to a friend's house for dinner. Steph is with us.

There are usually between 20 and 25 people for dinner at Mike and Donna's. Kids, who are actually in their early 20's now, wander in and out. And everyone who walks in the door has to write in the Thanksgiving Book.

I read about the Thanksgiving Book in a magazine years ago, and we started on in 1998. It's simply a blank journal book, and you write whatever you feel like. Dad used to write Good Grub every year. Some write a sentence, some write a page. It's so much fun to go back and read what was written in previous years. When we started the book Jacob and Katie hadn't been born, and we didn't even realize that we needed babies in the family. Since then Heather and Ed have gotten married, Eddie and Julianna have been born, and my Dad and Ralph's Dad and Uncle Frank have died.

Things I'm thankful for:
My family.
Ralph's good health since his brain surgery.
My friends- some I talk to every day, some only a couple times a year, but they're all important to me.
My job- it might make me crazy some days, but all in all I love it.
My toys- the sewing machines.
My car- I love my car.
Toast, Miss Millie, and Frenzy, and Cliffie.
The internet- some days it keeps me sane!

Holly

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Almost Turkey Day!

We had a half day at work, which was lovely! Did a few errands on the way home and was still home before 2 pm. Now I'm going to rake out the kitchen and get the ingredients and tools together for the food I'm making for tomorrow. Sweet potatos, broccoli casserole, and cranberry sauce are my contributions.

I follow the blog of Penny, a women that I "know" from the HGTV website. It's been an ongoing saga- her dog Jezebel has had cancer, and gone thru treatment. When I saw the title of her latest post, I knew they had lost her. How can I be so sad about a dog I've never met?

There are people who look at fuzzies as "just animals", and I feel sad for them- they're missing so much joy and unconditional love. Sometimes when I sit down I have a cat and a dog on me, and it's the greatest feeling! Of course, if the cat is Frenzy, she doesn't think you should move until she gives the word, and tends to dig in with her claws.

And now to get some work done!

Holly

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Brrr!

I can't believe this weather- it feels more like January than November! I might have to get the winter coat and gloves out- it's been in the low 30's every morning for the last week. We had snow showers one day, which was pretty, but way too early.

I love the weekend, but didn't accomplish much. I tidied up the bedroom and went food shopping. Last night I couldn't get warm- I was under the electric blanket with a sweatshirt on. Finally it dawned on me to take my temp (I've only been a nurse for 20 years!) and it was 99.8. Took some ibuprofen, and felt better.

Ralph, Steph and I went out to dinner at Olive Garden, and had a nice time. I hadn't seen Steph in 3 weeks- she's been so busy with work and school. Toast is staying here, and that way Steph can come right from work on Wednesday without having to go back to NE Philly to get her.

Steph helped me join Facebook. I'm not sure how much time I'll spend on it, but all my daughters are on it, so I can check up on them!

Thanksgiving dinner is at Mike and Donna's, as always. I'm making sweet potatoes, broccoli casserole (all the "kids" love it) and cranberry sauce, and anything else that strikes my fancy. It'll be "Little" Mike's first Thanksgiving away from home, but at least he'll go to John and Morgan's, as Manda did the years she was in school in Florida. Ralph is off this year- hospital schedules sure are a pain. Heather is working that night, so they'll be there for appetizers and salad. Then she'll go home for a nap, and Ed and the kids will go to his parents.

We're having a half day on Wednesday, which is a first for this district, and I love it. And when we go back to work, it'll be December!

Things to be happy about:
Ralph, Toast and Miss Millie are dozing on the couch.
Steph lives close enough to come home almost every weekend.
A free turkey from the grocery store!
A two and a half day week, followed by four and a half days off!

Holly

Friday, November 21, 2008

End of a long week!

What a busy week! I was out three nights this week, which is unusual for me. Monday I went to an inservice "Tools for preventing teen suicide". Wednesday was dinner with the nurses. Thursday I took a half a sick day to go to the dentist to have my crowns put in, then to an inservice from 4.30 til 7.30 on Delegating Epinephrine. (If I'd have know who the presenter was, I'd have skipped the Thursday inservice.)

So now it's Friday evening, and I'm tired. I just want to curl up with the cat and my book and relax til Ralph gets home from work. Tomorrow I have to consult with Donna to see what I'm bringing for Thanksgiving dinner, and then shop for ingredients. All the usual Suzy Homemaker things have to be done also.

Next weekend is a 4 day holiday weekend, so that's something to look forward to!

Holly

Monday, November 17, 2008

A new week

Monday again! Seems like more than 1/7 th of my life is spent on Mondays. It was a busy weekend. Saturday I quilted two little pieces that will be Christmas gifts, and took a nice long nap. Sunday morning we ordered carpet for the dining room, family room and hallway from Smart Carpet. It's a nice almost hunter green, and will be installed on December 9.

Then my friend Barbara came over and got acquainted with the HQ16- she was also working on Christmas gifts. After she left, Ralph and I went to Heather and Ed's and watched the kids so they could go out with people from Heather's work. It'll probably be the last time we babysit in that house, which makes me sad.

Today everyone who came in to my office had the Monday blahs. After work I went to an inservice about preventing teen suicide, for a continuing ed. hour toward the 30 I need for my license.

We didn't see Steph and Toast this weekend. Steph is totally immersed in projects for her college classes. Between work, school and trying to have a social life, Steph keeps really busy and manages to maintain a fabulous grade point average. We're so proud of her!

And now I'm off to the shower and bed!

Holly

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Two years ago today

Two years ago today my car got stolen. It was an awful experience. We had a staff meeting, so I came out of work at about 3.45, and my car was missing. I kind of stood there for a minute, thinking, "I know I left it there." There being my assigned parking space. I had only been assigned to that building for 2 1/2 months at the time.

I went back in the building, and called 911. Security pulled the tapes, and we watched a young couple come up the street, into the parking lot, and get into my car as fast as I get into it with a key! My car was old, a 1993 gray Caravan with 140,000 miles on it, but I loved it. The car had been gone an hour when I found that it was missing. The police wrote a report, and Steph came to get me. My nephew the cop told me that it might be recovered, but not to hold my breath. That was on a Monday.

On November 16, which was a Thursday, I got a call from the Park Police that my poor car had been recovered, but it was in pitiful condition. The story was that a couple was in Cooper River Park after midnight, and the park police told them to leave. The van pulled out slowly (poor car took a while to get warmed up) so the cop ran the tags, and they came up stolen (they weren't my tags). He put on his lights, and they took off. They missed a turn and the van went into the river. Glug glug. The male and female swam to shore and were arrested, and a rapid response towing company was called to pull the van out.

November 20 we went to see my poor car. The windows were broken, it was full of stuff- backpacks, car seats, unopened packages of tools, mail. I had only carried liability on it, so it ended up costing me money for the towing. The towing company guy accepted the title and would junk my poor car.

As events unfolded, it turned out that the 25 year old man who stole it already had a car theft charge and a weapons charge. I got to write a letter and tell the judge what having the car stolen cost me. The little creep got 3 years, and has to pay me back $2000 when he gets out, but as the prosecuter said, I won't hold my breath. The young female (she's no lady) also got jail time. I'm glad they both got to go sit in jail, and I hope they rot. As I told the park police, I'm sincerely sorry they didn't drown, or get shot by the cops.

I got a wonderful car, a 2004 caravan with a great electronic alarm system. I found that the old caravans are loved by lowlife thieves, because they're easy to get into and start. In August, I got a letter that the thief will be up for parole this fall. I considered a restraining order, but since I never got a good look at him, it wouldn't be effective. I did give the letter to my principal, in case the district wants to take out some kind of order to keep him off school property.

It's been two years, and I'm still pissed. And I'm still sorry that the bastard didn't drown. And I hope he tangles with the wrong (or right) person, and gets what he deserves.

Holly

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Now back to your regularly scheduled life!

I'm so glad the election is over! The election wasn't the problem, it was the constant commercials. I was taping everything I wanted to watch, so I could skip the awful commercials. You gotta wonder, do the commercials get votes for the candidates, or cost them votes.

As the Clintons found out, change don't come easy. If the senate and congress aren't with you, you can make all the promises you want, but you can't keep them. So will we really have change? Or will it be same old, same old.

So Halloween is done, election is done, and next is Thanksgiving! I have to hit the cookbooks and figure out what I want to make. We all go to brother Mike and SIL Donna's, and most of us cook. I do a broccoli cheese crockpot that the "kids"- who are now in their 20's for the most part, ask for every year. And of course, Joseph's Trifle.

Birthdays this month- nephew Kevin will be 34, nephew Joseph will be 22, sisters in law Donna and Morgan have birthdays a day apart, and friend Franny has a birthday.

And we have a 4 day weekend, starting now! I'm going to spend it with Heather and Ed and the kids.

Holly

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote early and often!

Ralph went at 0645 and had an awful line to wait in. I went at 0845 and sailed right in and out. Mom did hers by mail, because she just can't stand in lines anymore.

School was closed today because of the election, and I had a long list of errands and chores to accomplish. I only have one more, and that's printing out something, so no biggie.

We're off Thursday and Friday for NJ Teacher's convention, so I'm spending time with Heather and Ed and the kiddies. There's only about 5 weeks left until they move to NC, so I want to see them as much as possible. It's been damp here, and my knees are killing me.

Going back to standard time is strange, as it always is. I'm tired by 10, but awake before the alarm. The cat is still on daylight savings time, and expects to be fed as such.

The NY Beauty class was a lot of fun. They have great rolling chairs, and it made me realize that my $2 yard sale chair just isn't doing it. Ralph always wants to know what to get me, so that 's what I told him.

Unless the election results come in super early, I'll just have to wait til morning to find out who the new POTUS will be.

Holly

Saturday, November 1, 2008

All Saints Day

AKA November 1. Wow, the year is almost over! It always seems like once Halloween is past, Christmas comes roaring up.

I did some sewing last night. I'm working on the Crossed Kayaks (which we keep calling Crossed Canoes) that I took the class in last week. I have about half of the blocks made, and hope to finish the rest today. I don't like having too many things going at once, and this is a block that I think I would forget how to make if much time went by without me working on it.

Tomorrow is a paper piecing class for a NY Beauty Wallhanging that I'm taking at Village Quilter in Mt. Holly with my friend Barbara. The shop is providing the fabric kits, so it could be interesting. Reading the directions, it needs a high degree of contrast between the fabrics.

Registration is open for Machine Quilters Expositon in NH, the week after Easter. It opened at midnight, but since I was asleep then, I registered for classes this morning. I'm taking an all day mystery class with Mark Lipinski, which I'm looking forward to. I met him in Houston last year, and I think he'll be a fun teacher. I signed up for 8 classes, an ice cream social, and the banquet, over 4 days.

Unfortunately I'm in NJ now, and not in Houston. The world's biggest quilt show, Quilt Fest, is this week. Last year Steph and I went to visit Manda, and I got to spend two days at the show. This year, Steph has a Saturday morning class, and Manda is going to Ren Faire today. Next year!

Holly

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mischief Night

I guess I'm ready for Halloween, I bought candy and we have all the vehicles in the back of the yard so any enterprising soapers can't get to them without turning on all the outside lights. Last year we got zero trick or treaters- being the last house on a dead end street, and on the bottom of a little hill, I guess it's too much trouble to trick or treat us.

The time changes this weekend! Maybe we won't be getting up in the dark, at least for a little while. That's so depressing, waking up when it's not even light out and having to get up.

The Phillies won the World Series. I did my part, I watched the last 3 minutes or so of the game. When I was little we used to play baseball with about 6 kids, so you'd be pitcher, 2nd baseman, and center fielder. Made for interesting games! I find it much less fun to watch than it was to play. The guys at work were so excited, you'd think they'd participated in the game!

Steph and Toast came to see us last night- Toast stayed, and Steph went off to a World Series party, then she slept over and went to work from here. Toast is still here, and she and Ralph are napping on the couch.

It got so cold here that I bought a new electric blanket, and we used it last night. Brrr!

Holly

Sunday, October 26, 2008

October is almost over!

How did that happen? It feels like I lost a week, with being sick last week, which made the month go by faster!

It's been a busy weekend. Friday night I finished cutting the fabric for quilt class, after taking my traditional Friday afternoon nap. Saturday I had quilt class from 10-2, which was fun. I picked up milk at Wawa for Mom, dropped that off, came home, checked email, then ran to Joann's for thread which was on sale. Grabbed dinner while I was out, came home, collected things to go to Heather's and to Sharon's, and went to Justin's birthday party. Ralph came from work, and Steph came directly from her apartment.

Heather and Ed had pix of their new NC house, so we go to see those. We visited with the family, in between kids running around, and eating a wonderful cake. By the time we got home, it was almost 11 p.m.

Steph stayed over, and she and I are going to do some shopping, while Ralph goes and helps the guys move a pool table from Frank's to Kevin's new house. Then she's taking grand-d0g Toast home to Philly.

Goals for the week:
Work on "crossed canoes"
Get ready for next weeks quilt class

Holly

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Already midweek!

I may survive The Ick after all! It was touch and go there, but I feel at least almost human today. We had an all day inservice, and it's always fun to be able to lunch with my co-workers.

Eddie's pirate coat is done, and Zac's Jedi robe is done! Now I have to cut the fabric for the quilt class on Saturday, which is called Crossed Canoes, but is much prettier than it sounds. The fabrics are all browns and creams, and it'll be very rich looking. The following week is another quilt class, at the Village Quilter. That one is a New York Beauty wallhanging, and Barbara and I are taking it together.

Steph is going to Heather's tonight, and staying with Julianna while Heather, Ed and Eddie go down to NC for Heather to have an inperson interview, and to see the house and Eddie's new school. It's a fast trip, and they'll be back late Friday.

I googled Albemarle NC quilt shops, and there's several in the area. It seems like a nice area, by the websites.

Holly

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I've got The Ick

I actually feel a little better today- I slept most of yesterday. I'm taking mucinex, cough syrup, tylenol, and advil for my jaw. I really felt out of it most of yesterday, and stayed in my jammies all day. Finally I got up last night and did some work on Eddie's pirate coat for his costume.

This morning I got up and went to the food store, since we were out of milk, bread, iced tea mix and Fancy Feast. It's nice out- in the mid 40's, with a nice blue sky.

This week we have an inservice on Wednesday- the kids are off school. Saturday morning I have quilt class at Quilted Treasures, and Saturday night is Justin's 3rd birthday party.

I've been taping almost everything I want to watch on TV, so I can fast forward thru the commercials. I'm so sick of the political commercials- I'll be so glad when the election is over. Of course, then it'll go right into Christmas commercials.

Christmas will be stranger than usual for us this year. With Ralph and Heather working in the hospital, we tend to celebrate it at odd times, depending on who's working when. Since Manda and Ben are officially a couple, they're both going to his parents in Nebraska, then both coming here. I think the latest plan was for them to arrive the day after Christmas. Heather, Ed and the kids will have moved to NC by then, and they're coming up here, maybe the day after Christmas. So we'll all celebrate together, at some point, and being together is the important part.

Steph is staying at her apartment this weekend, which is just as well since I don't want to give her The Ick. We'll see her next weekend.

Goals for the week:
Get over The Ick
Finish the pirate coat

Holly

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thursday evening

I've been on the penicillin and advil since Monday. My jaw is still very tender, not quite hurting. I hate teeth! And it the teeth weren't a big enough problem, I have a cold. I was at a meeting of Camden County School Nurses last night, and I was fine. By the time I drove the 15 minutes to home, I had a sore throat. Today I coughed intermittently. I'm taking Vitamin C every time I go into the kitchen.

The meeting was fun- dinner was provided, so we got to eat and visit. One speaker was really good, the other was dreadful. Some topics just can't be made interesting.

I think I'm going to bed early tonight, after more meds.

Holly

Monday, October 13, 2008

An afternoon with the dentist

So the area where I had the root canal was feeling weird- not sore, just strange. I called the dentist this morning, and they had a cancellation this afternoon. So off I went, hoping it was all my imagination.

No such luck. I needed a crown on the root canal'd tooth, and the tooth next to it wasn't in good shape, so he did both. And cauterized some "diseased gum tissue". And gave me an Rx for penicillin, and told me to take advil around the clock for a couple of days. The permanent crowns will be ready in about 3 weeks.

Dental technology has come a long way! Numbing stuff to numb your cheek before they inject the novacaine. Xays that go right on a laptop. Two crowns done in an hour.

So I didn't get much sewing done. (Translation: I didn't even get into the sewing room). But at least I didn't have to take another sick day to go to the dentist.

Toast is still here. Last night Steph stayed over, and went to work from here. We'd gone to niece Sharon's for birthday cake for Charlotte, and we got home about 9 from there. I was glad Steph decided not to make the trek home last night. Tonight is her rock climbing night, so she'll pick up Toast after work tomorrow. Funny how I see so much more of my granddog than I do of the grandchildren!

And the beat goes on!

Holly

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A three day weekend!

What lovely words those are! A time to recharge and catch up, and do some quilting!

Today is my sister in law Charlotte's birthday- I won't say which birthday, but it is a milestone one. Happy Birthday Charlotte!

I've spent the week reading the instruction book for the embroidery machine, and joining and reading yahoo groups about it, and ordering thread for it. I want to play with it, but I have two obligations to do first- Eddie's pirate "Captain Hook" coat, and Zac's Jedi robe. They are this weekend's projects.

Granddog Toast is still here. Steph was going to pick her up Thursday, but developed The Ick and stayed home. Since she's going to be down here this weekend anyway, she'll stay over on Saturday and take Toast home Sunday. I left some windows open last night, and it got chilly, so it was Ralph, me, Toast and the two cats all snuggled in.

Heather and Ed have an offer for their house, and have signed papers. They also signed papers to buy the house in Ablemarle, NC, that they wanted to buy before. The people are divorcing, and the house is still for sale. Probable settlement in early December. I so want to be happy for them, but it's real hard. Even though we don't see them frequently, due to all our work schedules, it's a lot easier to see someone who lives 25 miles away than someone who lives 10 hours away. But we'll all survive.

Holly

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I hate sick days!

Actually, what I hate is wasting a sick day on actually being sick, which is what happened yesterday. Sunday night, Ralph was up half the night being sick. At 4 a.m. he finally called out of work. I got up Monday, started to get ready, and was so nauseaus that I was afraid to drive, so I called out and went back to bed. Slept til noon, and felt human. Ralph was still sick, and was running a 102 fever! I was afraid he had the flu- he was shivering so much he almost spilled his juice!

By this morning he was feeling better, and seems like the temp is gone. Must have been something viral. And I feel fine- may have been lack of sleep, or just a touch of what he had. But I lost a sick day, which is annoying. And of course going back to work after a day out means being buried in paperwork.

Steph left Toast here, before we started feeling icky. I had offered to keep her for a few days, to give Steph a break from early morning and afterwork walks with Toast. I admit it, I missed having Toast around. She's such a snuggler! She's my favorite (and only) granddog.

We had a nice weekend. Saturday I wanted to go look at an embroidery machine, and there's a Janome dealer near Steph, so we met her for lunch, then went back to her apartment. I bought a Janome 9700 embroidery machine! The dealer spent an hour with me, and I also get 2 free lessons. I've wanted one, and looked at them at the Houston show last year, and have been reading reviews. I'm a sewing machine snob, I wouldn't have anything but Janome. Does everything the Berninas and Babylocks do, for half the price.

Sunday I spent the afternoon quilting "Purple Haze" for Manda, with a cloud groovy board. I'm really happy with how it came out. Now I have to bind it and take a pic, and it can go off to Texas and join "The Wind Cries" on her other couch. I'm getting more confident on the HQ16- going to the retreat really helped.

Holly

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Here are Manda, Steph, Juliana and Heather last weekend. They had some sister time at Smithville, and had a nice day of it.

Friends

I've been thinking about friends, near and far. Our friend Charley, his wife Janice, and toddler were up last week for his dad's funeral, and stopped over my Mom's so she could see Matthew. Charley started out as my brother John's friend, way back when they were teenagers. When John had his accident, and Charley spent tons of time at the hospital with John, our family adopted him, and he became more than a friend- like another brother. As the years went by, John moved, Charley went back to school, then married, then moved to Georgia. So he kind of wanders in and out of our lives. When he calls, or comes back, it's like he never left. And he's married to a lovely lady that wanders in and out with him.

Other far friends that wander in and out are Pat and Linda, who are sisters. Linda is a friend from when we were in high school, and when Pat moved down the street from me, we got real close. Linda is now in California, and Pat is in Florida. I don't hear from either of them real frequently, but when I do, it's as if I just talked to them yesterday.

I have other friends that I see and talk to much more frequently, but my far flung friends are so important to me!

Holly

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

It's October!

Wow, September just zipped on by! Work is always so busy in September, and this year was no exception.

It was so nice to have Manda home for the weekend! She did the tour- Friday night at Steph's, Saturday night at Heather's, and Sunday night here. Monday I took off work to follow up with the oral surgeon, so I got to have lunch with Ralph, the girls and Julianna, then Steph and Toast took Manda to the airport. Since I'm not going to Houston for The Quilt Show this year, I won't see Manda again until Christmas.

Ralph and Eddie's party was very nice- good food, good company. We have a lot of birthdays in October- Ralph's Mom, Florence is tomorrow. And there's Charlotte and Justin in a few weeks.

I got Manda's other couch quilt up on the HQ16, then ran out of time and ambition. It's definately this weekend's project. I have groovy boards in a cloud pattern, so she picked them.

Seems like Fall has arrived! We've had a lot of rain, and it's been cool in the mornings. And it's so dark out when the alarm goes off at 0630! I really hate getting up in the dark- it just doesn't seem natural. At least it's light by the time I leave at 0710 or so.

Holly

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday night again!

Wow, this week just zipped on by! It was a busy one. Tuesday night we had to stay late at work, Thursday night I watched the grandchildren so that Heather and Ed could go to their first ever back to school night. Tonight I came home and took my traditional Friday night nap, then went to the grocery store to get the rest of the stuff for the party tomorrow.

Manda's plane should be landing anytime now. She hasn't seen Eddie and Julie since Easter, so she'll be happy to see how they've grown. She's staying over Steph's tonight, and they'll be here after Steph's class tomorrow.

The area where I had the tooth extracted is still tender, and I can't bite into anything. I follow up with the oral surgeon on Monday.

Holly

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's Ralph's birthday today!

DH Ralph is 60 today! And it's his weekend to work, so he had to be up and out early.

I first met Ralph when he was 21 and I was 17. Our local paper published the names of local servicepeople who were in Vietnam, and I sent him a Christmas card. We wrote for a little bit, but he's the world's worst writer, so we started sending cassette tapes back and forth. When he came home the end of June, we met, and started going out.

Ralph was a plumber in the family biz when I met him. Then his dad retired, and he went to work for someone else. Construction plumbers are out of work a lot of the winter, and he decided to go to college. We already were married, had a house and Heather and that point. VA money helped put him thru school, and he got a BSN and started working as an ER nurse.

He's been a nurse for 27 years now! His nurse manager calls Ralph their "go to guy". His big hobby is fixing computers, and I think he's fixed every in the ER's computer at least once.

Last August Ralph developed a sudden terrible headache with awful nausea. He was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor- how scary is that?! And the fabulous neurosurgeon Dr. Turtz removed it thru his nose! Didn't even shave off his mustache!

That was the hardest thing we've been thru. I wasn't sure Ralph's mom and I would survive that week. The night before they operated, I was on my way home from the hospital at 4 a.m. and I had a long conversation with his dad and my dad, the world's most unlikely angels. I asked that they keep him safe for me and Florence and my girls, as we weren't ready to lose him. Either Joe and Rocco had some influence with God, or it just wasn't Ralph's time, because he came thru the surgery wonderfully, and was home 48 hours later.

When Ralph was able to go back to work, I convinced him to go part time- 2 12 hours shifts per week instead of 3. The mortgage is paid off, we don't have to pay for college anymore, and we could afford the cut in pay. It's made a tremendous in his quality of life- he looks so much better and less stressed.

We're having a joint birthday party next weekend for Ralph and our grandson Eddie, who will be 5 on Tuesday. Manda is even coming home for it!

Happy Birthday Ralph! We love you!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday night!

What a day! Last night I chewed on a pretzel and my upper front tooth broke off at the gum. I said some very bad words. I had given up using very bad words about 5 years ago for New Years, but a tooth breaking off is an exception.

So today I had to go my dentist and get an impression of my mouth, take my partial plate to the lab for them to add the tooth, go back to the lab to pick it up, and go to the oral surgeon for the extraction under general anesthesia. Some things are better slept thru. But it's all over now, I can talk and be understood, and there's not a lot of swelling. It's definately tender, but doesn't really hurt. Calling out from work was a pain- I have things I'm in the middle of, and a day not there wasn't in my plan.

Manda, Ben and the kitten are on their way back to Houston. They left this afternoon, with a cooler and a lot of nonperishables, and hope to be home tomorrow morning. Travel goes a lot faster without rainstorms following you!

Ben has power, Manda doesn't. So they will camp out at his place. JSC was opening today, and the gas station at their corner is up and running. They'll be glad to be home, and back in their routine.

Tomorrow I go to Quilting Possibilities in Bayville (50 miles away) for an all day class in the use of my HQ16. I signed up for it 6 months ago, and I'm so looking forward to it. There will be 12 of us, and they'll have 6 machines for us to use.

And it's chilly! So chilly that I have all the windows closed, and the heat on to take the chill off. Looks like fall is really here!

Holly

Thursday, September 18, 2008

More on the evacuees

Manda and Ben are planning to head back to Houston tomorrow. They'll leave Ben's parents around noon, and plan to get thru Kansas in the daylight (see previous post).

Their apartment complex, the Palms, has some power- Ben's building does, Manda's doesn't. Johnson Space Center is running on generators. Downtown Houston has a dusk to dawn curfew, to prevent looting.

So they're shopping for non perishables in Nebraska, to take back with them. Especially cat food- can't run out of cat food!

Holly

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Update on Manda and Ben

They are safely at Ben's house. Kitten is settling in- she's eating and drinking and using the litter pan, and hiding under the bed. When I talked to Manda last night, they were at a friend's house. Ben was watching football and Manda had taken a nap.

I went to the Houston Chronicle's website, and the Houston officials are telling evacuees not to come back yet, as most of the city is without power. It's a scary situation, and I'm so glad they are safe in Nebraska.

Yesterday I took a Mystery Quilt class at Quilted Treasures. It was a lot of fun, and will be a fun quilt. I have to recut one strip set, as it didn't end up the right width, even tho my strips were correct, and the 1/4 inch seam was dead on. But correcting is it only a matter of cutting 3 strips and sewing them together, then subcutting- maybe a half hours work.

Today is a meeting of the South Jersey Longarmers Guild, also at QT. I'm the least experienced person there- everyone else does Longarming as a business. The meetings are informative and fun, and make me realize that I so do NOT want to go into business. Right now, longarming is fun. If I do it as a business, it becomes work, and I already have a job.

Things to be happy about-
Manda and Ben and Kitten are safe
You don't have to evacuate for blizzards
Work is going really well (knock wood)

Holly

Friday, September 12, 2008

Evacuation Update

When I talked to them at 7 a.m. they were in Kansas. Manda said Kansas must not know there is reflective paint for roads, because it was very dark, and raining hard. So they stopped at a rest stop and slept for a couple of hours.

She left me a message at 11 that they were just pulling into Ben's parents' driveway. They drove 1070 miles! Poor Kitten!

Watching TV, I'm so glad they evacuated, and seems like it may be a lengthy one.

Holly

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Houston Evacuation

Manda and Ben's zipcode is under mandatory evacuation. Johnson Space Center closed today at noon, and they packed up their laptops, quilts, and the cat and headed for.......Nebraska, of course! They considered Austin, but their friend in Austin is away, so they decided to drive the 1000 or so miles to Ben's parents in Nebraska. They left their car at a friend's who is a little more inland (the friend is also evacuating to several states away), and headed out.

When they called tonight at 10, they were near Oklahoma City, and traffic was fine. They plan to alternate drivers and napping, and arrive around 5 a.m.

I've been laughing all night about evacuating to Nebraska, but I'm so glad they are safe. Stuff can be replaced, if necessary. Since Manda's apartment is on the second floor, and Ben's is on the third floor, their stuff should be fine. Ike is supposed to make landfall tomorrow night, and it's a big one. Keep all the Texans in your thoughts!

Holly

Monday, September 8, 2008

We survived the storm!

We had a whole day of rain and some wind from Hurricane Hanna on Saturday. It was a dreary day, a great day for laying around and not doing much, so that's what we did. Other than taking Toast outside a few times, we stayed in. It was nice, and the rain was sure needed.

Now it's back up into the 80's and humid. Toast went home with Steph last night, and it was strange to come home to an empty house. The cats don't count, they don't care if you come or go as long as food appears in their dishes on a regular basis.

I got a lot done at work today, which was very satisfying. On the way home I stopped at Joann's fabrics for the pattern sale, and got dinner for Mom and us from Boston Market. Got home and ran the dishwasher and washer, trying to whittle down the mountain of email.

Ralph got the new computer hooked up, and everything transferred. We have a nice fast computer now, and the big moniter is working great.

Tomorrow is my friend Barbara's birthday, and also my niece Sharon's birthday. Last week was my friend Linda's birthday, and later this week is my nephew Mikey's. Happy Birthday to all!

Holly

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Back to work

Summer is officially over! Staff started back to work on Tuesday, and the kids came in today. I'm exhausted! I was so out of the habit of getting up early and going to bed at a decent hour.

Tuesday and today I came home and napped. Yesterday I managed to stay awake, and even got the first border on the mystery quilt. I want the second border on before I cut fabric for another mystery quilt class that I'm taking on Sept 13.

Big news- Mom drove! After not driving since mid-May, she drove up and down her driveway yesterday, and went to the food store in town (4 blocks away) today. I'm so happy- I didn't want her to lose her independence. She's used to running to the doc, the food store and out to lunch with friends.

Steph is home from her Labor Day weekend visit with Manda. She'll be down after class on Saturday morning to pick up Toast and take her home. I adore the dog, but I'm ready for a break. She's definately a high maintainance pup.

Manda was thrilled with "The Wind Cries". She had claimed the fabric when I bought it, and the quilt top has been assembled for probably two years. I've been working my way thru the family, and everyone will eventually get a quilt, but no one should hold their breath.

My grandson starts kidnergarten tomorrow! He'll be 5 on the 23rd, where did that time go?

So just modest goals-
Put the second border on the mystery quilt.
Cut out the next mystery quilt
Cut out the pirate jacket for Eddie.

Holly

Sunday, August 31, 2008

August in ending!

Wow, where did the summer go? And as eventful as the summer has been, I'm glad to see it leave. This is two awful summers in a row- enough already!

Last summer we had Ralph's brain surgery and Joseph's car accident with his shattered hip and broken leg.

This summer we've had Uncle Frank's death, Mom's frequent hospitalizations, Ralph's allergic reaction to his med, my abscessed tooth, and Julianna's allergic reactions to strawberries.

I keep saying I got nothing done this summer, but my friend Barbara corrects me that I got a lot done, just nothing that I had planned to do.

Some good things happened this summer. Ralph and I visited Manda and had a wonderful time. Steph is visiting Manda right now, and hopefully the hurricane won't visit her. Steph, Manda and Ben all took summer college classes and did very well. Manda and Ben visited San Fransisco and had a great time. Michael started motorcycle repair school in Orlando and is doing well. Ralph got our porch and deck just about finished. I quilted 2 quilts on the HQ16. Steph and I took 2 cooking classes at Sur La Table. I took a mystery quilt class with Barbara at Village Quilter. Toast spent the summer here and kept me company.

We had quite a few summer birthdays- Manda, Steph, Ben, Connor, Mackenzie, Tori, and Nadia.

Things to make me happy today:
The sky is blue!
I'm 2/3 done the mystery quilt.
The air conditioning is not running!

Holly

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Wind Cries

I just got done quilting and binding this quilt for Manda. It's called "The Wind Cries" and it is for her couch. It has a companion, which I haven't quilted yet, called "Purple Haze." I quilted it in a baptist fan pattern, the first time using a groovy board on the HQ16. In this pic, I believe there is a cat under the quilt (as usual). I just have to label it, which I'll do in the morning, then Steph will deliver it to Manda when she goes to visit for the holiday weekend.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Actually did some quilting!

I finished quilting Manda's couch quilt! One of them, anyway- one down, one to go. I used the baptist fan groovy board on the HQ16. The quilt's been up on the frame for a couple weeks, just hadn't gotten back to it.

We found out the table sags in the middle when the machine is there, just enough so the stylus comes out of the groove- which showed in my quilting. Once I was finished, Ralph rigged up a center support. HQ would be happy to sell me a 5th leg, for $100, but Ralph fixed it with scraps of wood.

Doing the quilting was fun, once I settled down and just did it. I had the CD player on LOUD, and the tension was great. There's a learning curve to the groovy boards, in the spacing of the rows. All in all, I'm happy with it. That's two quilted, about 10 waiting to quilt. I figure I have to quilt 20 to make up for the cost of the machine.

Steph and Toast came home- we're doing a girl trip to Lancaster tomorrow. Heather, Julie, Sharon, Mackenzie, Steph and I. Just a day trip this time. With so many people and car seats and strollers, no one is buying anything big. Then Toast will stay with us because Steph has classes Wed and Thurs night, and leaves for Houston Friday to see Manda.

Goals for the week:
Get another quilt loaded.
Cut fabric for the mystery class Thursday night.

Things that make me happy:
Having Steph home for a couple of days
The porch and deck floors have been stained, and the tables and chairs are up

Holly

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Doggy Daycare is Closed

Sad face here- Steph took Toast home last night. As they were leaving, I was crying, and laughing because I was being so silly. After all, she'll be back on Sunday, and then will be here over Labor Day weekend. She was with us for 10 weeks while Steph had college classes 4 nights a week, and she was my constant shadow. But much as Toast loves us, she adores Steph, and they'll be fine, and so will we. The cats of course don't care one way or the other.

I worked in the sewing room for hours last night, trying to get some kind of organzation. I'll do more tonight and tomorrow. It'll be nice to be able to find anything!

Holly

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Quiet Sunday

Quiet is good! No crisis at the moment, and hopefully it'll stay that way.

My groovy boards came, now I just need some ambition to get back to quilting Manda's quilt.

Ralph is working on the deck, and Toast is napping beside me. Manda and Ben are in San Fransisco, and Steph is down visiting with Heather, Ed and the kidlets.

I've been sorting thru quilt magazines, and only keeping the patterns that I like. I've given away and recycled bags and bags, and the end is in sight. I hope to have that done tonight. I've already cleared off a shelf that fabric can now go onto.

Things to be happy about:
The sky is blue, and it's in the low 80's
I'm making progress in the sewing room
The porch will be stained this week.
A quiet day!

Holly

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Semi quilting related!

I have soooo many old quilting magazines, and I have them in magazine holders. They take up several shelves. I finally decided that's ridiculous, plus I need the shelf room for fabric! So last night and tonight I started going thru the magazines and ripping out the pages I don't want- which are more than the pages I do want! I have whole magazines that I'll take to the quilt shop for anyone who wants them.

I've filled 3 brown bags with pages to recycle! And I'm no where near done. But ripping is very satisfying.

Mom came home today! I went and got her prescription- she's on 2 new meds. She called me to read me all the possible side effects of the one med- dizziness, thyroid issues, and a host of other meds. She insists on reading up on side effects. I can't convince her that a possible side effect is not the same as a probable side effect. I said she needs to discuss it with her doctor. Jeez, try reading the side effects of tylenol sometime!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Yay for Sinus Rhythym!

They finally, after months of drama, cardioverted my Mom today, and her heart is back to sinus (normal) rhythym! Hopefully it will stay in the "right" rhythym and she will feel better and stronger.

I was so upset earlier. I called, and Mom said they were giving her potassium IV, and her whole arm hurt. I told her the site needed to be changed, or more fluids added. Don't be a martyr- it isn't supposed to hurt! I couldn't run up there, because I was getting ready to go to my own 6 month followup with my cardiologist.

After seeing my doc, I went to the hospital, and they'd just taken Mom down, so I left her a note. She just called to say she's in sinus -Yay again- and that the nurse had changed the IV site and it stopped hurting. Duh, as the kids say.

So she'll be able to come home tomorrow, and hopefully get back to her normal.

As for my visit with Dr. L, everything is good, and I don't have to see him for another 6 months. Yay again.

Today is Ben's birthday! Ben is Manda's boyfriend, and he's 24 today. How funny is it that the Jersey girl moves to Houston and meets a guy from Nebraska there!

Happy Birthday Ben!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Quiet, rainy Sunday

Ralph worked today, so it was just me and the cats and the dog. My jaw is still achey, but not as bad as yesterday. We had several thunderstorms go thru, which didn't make the dog happy!

In a spurt of ambition (or maybe it was guilt) I cleaned the refrigerator shelves, tossed outdated stuff, scrubbed the sink, cleaned the bathroom and did some laundry! Then I made a meatloaf for dinner and blueberry pie for dessert! The only times I went out were when Toast had to go up the yard.

One of Manda's couch quilts is on the HQ16, but I didn't feel up to working on it, and the light wasn't very good because of the storm. I did crochet for awhile, on Toast's afghan.

I can't believe how fast August is going! Tomorrow they are going to cardiovert Mom (finally!). If it works, they'll keep her for 2 days to start new meds. Tuesday is my 6 month checkup with my cardiologist.

Another week and Toast will be going home to Steph's, since summer classes are over. We'll miss the little dog, but I won't miss the first-thing-in-the-morning trips outside. She'll be back here for Labor Day weekend, if Steph goes to Houston.

No goals for the week- I give up.

Holly

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Root canal and Rainforest Cafe

That was my day- I started out at the dentist at 8.30 with a root canal for my poor abscessed tooth. The root canal wasn't as bad as I expected, and I was out of there in an hour with a numb jaw.
I called Heather and I said I was home already. She and niece Sharon were planning a journey to Atlantic City to go to lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. It was one of the things Eddie remembered from our Florida trip last summer. So we journeyed, with Eddie and toddlers Mackenzie and Julie. AC is only 30 minutes or so from Heather's house, and we got there and were seated around 2.
Rainforest Cafe is cool- it's like you're sitting among the trees, with statues of birds and monkeys and huge tanks of real fish. And elephants, which is ridiculous. Every 20 minutes the lights dim, the gorillas scream, it thunders and lightnings, and you hear the sound of rain. Julie and Kenzie were startled and not happy with the rainstorms!
A person in a treefrog costume was walking around, which Eddie loved. The girls didn't want any parts of it. The service was good- they take the kids orders and get them out really quickly.

By the time we got back to Heather's my jaw was aching, which advil helped. It was a fun afternoon.

Holly

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

As much fun as an abscessed tooth!

Yep, it's an abscess. Jaw felt funny over the weekend, went and had it xrayed yesterday morning. So the dentist put me on penicillin, and I have a root canal scheduled for Friday morning. Advil for pain.

And next Monday Mom is (supposedly) getting cardioverted, which means yet another trip to the lab for bloodwork Thursday. If it works, they'll keep her 48 hours or so to start different meds. This will be her 4th admission this year with afib- I sure hope they get her back to sinus rhythym, as this is truly getting old.

We were trying to go to Williamsburg for a few days with Frank and Charlotte, and due to doc and dentist appts for Ralph and I, and his work schedule, couldn't get enough open days. And that was before the root canal and cardioversion!

My quilt class for this Thursday got cancelled, as I was the only one signed up. I'm hoping my cooking class at Sur La Table doesnt also get cancelled.

The only decent news is that the Hurricane didn't hit Houston directly. Johnson Space Center was closing early yesterday and staying closed today, so the employees and contractors, all 30,000 of them, would be off the roads. Manda and Ben stocked up on water, bread and milk (French toast anyone?) and are holing up in her apartment with the cat.

Holly

Friday, August 1, 2008

How can it be August already?

August means my vacation is half over! No! How did this happen already?

What did I accomplish this week? Not much. I had some paperwork that I swore I'd do over the summer, and I did some. And, my dining room table is cleared off- I took the stuff to Goodwill. Got the curtains back up in our bedroom. Bought new chairs and a little fountain for the porch. Took Mom for bloodwork, and got my own done also. Picked up the dog's meds from the vet. Had lunch with Mom twice, dinner with Steph once. Baked a fabulous blueberry pie. Finished the afghan I was working on, and started a little one for the dog. Read 14 books in July. Spent entirely too much time on the computer!

OK, I guess the week wasn't entirely wasted after all!

Holly

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Timeshares

I used to think that anyone who bought a timeshare was nuts. How could they ever use it enough to recoup the awful cost of them? Then my daughter Heather and SIL Ed got a timeshare. They didn't buy it new, it was gifted to them by Ed's parents. And as they figured out how to use it, I started reading and asking questions. Who knew that you could swap your week at Place X and use it for Place Y? (Lots of people knew, I just wasn't one of them!)

So last summer Heather and Ed used one of their stored weeks (you can save weeks!) to get two units at Star Island in Orlando, and I went with them. Fabulous place! Later in the summer they used a week at their home location of the Flagship in Atlantic City. Not so fabulous, but the place is being renovated, and she put in late for it.

I started casually reading the timeshares for sale on ebay. Some wonderful deals, but I didn't feel brave or knowledgeable enough to buy, or even bid. Then in April, a friend of Ed's Mom was ill and wanted to sell off two of her timeshares. Steph and I each bought a week at Shawnee in the Poconos. Getting the transfer is still going on! I had to find a title company, then they had to find a Pa. lawyer to write the new deeds. That was finally done, and we did the signing and notarizing right before July 4. Now it's back to the lawyer for the deed to be recorded. Hopefully, that'll come thru soon!

When that happens, we have to join RCI, which is the week swapping company. Soon as we join, the timeshare lady will deposit 3 back weeks and 2 current weeks into our accounts, and we can make plans to use them!

I've joined http://timeshareforums.com and Timeshares Users Group http://www.tug2.net and I've been reading the bulletin boards on both. On TUG, there are several reviews of Shawnee, and it sounds decent but not fabulous.

So now I'm not only reading all the quilting groups and the mystery groups and the blogs, I've added the two timeshare groups! I have to limit my time on the computer, or I'll never get anything else done!

Things to be happy about:
Playing with Eddie and Julie last night
Toast got a haircut and looks cute and adorable
I made blueberry pancakes this morning and they were terrific!

This weeks goals:
Harass Ralph til the curtains get put back up
Step3 of OC

Holly

Friday, July 25, 2008

Goals

I have this goal of posting at least twice a week, especially in the summer, when I'm not working. I was just looking at the specific goals for this week, and I met them! Uncle Frank's funeral went as well as a funeral can. I made two sets of covers for Heather's bench cushion, and gave them to her to take home, and Julianna's sundress is almost done, I need to put the straps on, but I have to have her here to measure for them.

I did some sewing last night. I finished a set of four pillowcases for someone who has a birthday coming up soon. The pillowcases and a gift card will be their gift.

I'm way, way behind on Orange Crush. I've completed steps 1 and 2, then I got sidetracked with Ben's quilt. Last night I was reading a shortcut to step 3, and I think that'll be my next project, to complete OC. It's the only quilt that I have in progress, unless you count the tops that are done and waiting to be quilted.

I've been crocheting every day. I'm making a blue and white afghan that will be a gift for later this year.

Holly

Monday, July 21, 2008

Life and Death

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here, we should dance.

I stole that saying from someone else's blog, because it made me smile. It sounds so much cooler than the saying about making lemonade when life gives us lemons.

Today was a lemon day. Ralph worked all weekend, and last night at 11 p.m. realized that he had no idea where his dress shoes were. He and Steph searched his closet, and even looked downstairs. No shoes. All he had were sandals and his work sneakers, neither of which were appropriate to wear to a funeral. So he ended up at Walmart at 4.30 this morning, buying shoes. While he was there, he bought 3 pairs, and some socks. He was home by 6, and we were eating scrambled eggs by 7.

The funeral home had done a wonderful job with Uncle Frank. He looked very thin, and so resembled his father! Family members, friends and acquaintances wandered in and out of the viewing. We saw cousins that we only see at funerals- how sad is that?

Then it was on to the church for a mass. As I said to Heather, the fact that the roof didn't fall in when we entered was a good sign! The mass was the usual pomp and ceremony that a mass is. Not being catholic, most of it makes absolutely no sense to me, but I can go with the flow with the best of them. Then into the limo, and off for the hour ride to the cemetery. It's a big old cemetery in Yeadon, which is past Philly airport. It had huge, gorgeous monuments, and is beautiful.

Then back to our home area for a funeral luncheon. It was nice to sit and visit with the family, and wind down. Back home, and naps all around. The 95 degree heat didn't help anyone.

So now the ceremonial part of death is completed, and the practical part kicks in. Ralph and his mom and brother have their work cut out- cleaning and disposing of the trailer, and all the paperwork that it takes to complete the circle. And the mourning.

Rest in peace, Uncle Frank. We'll miss you. And we're happy that you danced while you were in this party that we call life.

Holly

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I'm so proud of myself!

I'm not the most computer literate person in the world. (My kids can stop laughing hysterically). I wanted to add the links of blogs that I like to read, and I went into dashboard and figured it out and did it! All by myself!

This morning I drove Steph to King of Prussia, a 40 mile trip, for her one day checkup after her lasix surgery. It was a real pain, as Rt 76 was back up for miles with so called paving going on. So after we drove an hour and a half there, she had a 2 minute checkup, and we drove an hour back to Cherry Hill to pick up her car, Steph took me out to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. I got this immense Club Sandwich, and brought most of it home for Ralph. It was really good, but sooo big!

Toast and I napped this afternoon after I got home. Then, I went into the sewing room and actually did some sewing! No quilting, but some sewing. Ralph had a pair of scrubs that the seam pulled out, Heather had two nightshirts that she wanted the sleeves shortened, and I made covers for the foam top of her foyer bench. I made a set of covers out of a red snowman fabric that she'd picked out. She also picked a green leaf print, so that'll be next.

Things that make me happy:
Spending time with Steph
Going to the library
Admiring my new windows

Goals for the week:
Survive Uncle Frank's funeral
Make the green covers for Heather
Make the last sundress for Julianna

Holly

Friday, July 18, 2008

I'm so confused!

I love being off work for the summer, but it puts me in a permanent state of confusion. What day is it, anyway? Back when I worked in the hospital, you checked to see if a person was oriented by asking "What day is it?" I fail that one bigtime.

Yesterday the other half of our replacement windows, and the dining room slider were put in. They look fabulous! We're hoping it will make a difference in energy consumption. And it'll be great to be able to open windows without having to wedge books into the opening!

Yesterday when I was here with the window guys, Ralph, his Mom, and Helen made the funeral arrangements for Uncle Frank. Everything will be on Monday, with a luncheon afterward at Charlie Brown's Resturant. That's the same place where the luncheons were held after the funerals of Ralph's Dad and my Dad. It's close, reasonably priced, and they have a separate room for groups.

Manda, after a lot of soul searching, decided not to come home. Flights with no notice are expense, and she'd only be here for a day or so. And it's a longish flight, 3.5 hours to fly in from Houston.

Tomorrow Steph gets her eyeballs lasered, so I'll pick her up and bring her here to sleep off the xanax they'll give her. Ralph and his brother Frank are going to Uncle Frank's to do some clean up and sorting, and Charlotte is going to look into flowers for the funeral. Uncle Frank didn't want any, but tough.

And now I'm going to bed. What day is it again?

Holly

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesday

For what is it to die, but to stand in the sun and melt into the wind? And when the Earth has claimed our limbs, then we shall truly dance.

Kahlil Gibran

We got the phone call late last night, Uncle Frank passed away peacefully. Today the funeral arrangements will be made.

Rest in Peace, Uncle Frank. We love you.



Monday, July 14, 2008

Death Be Not Proud

DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so.

John Donne

Uncle Frank is Ralph's uncle, and he's dying. He has cancer, and he's fought the good fight for years, but he's losing, as we all do eventually. He's lived alone until a couple of months ago, when he couldn't get out of bed. Ralph took him to the hospital, and he went from there to rehab, then to long term care.

Being in the nursing home pissed him off. Nothing about the place suited him, especially the part about him having to be there. If he was physically able, I think he would have walked out. And who can blame him- he went from having a life, to being totally dependent on others, within a month.

Over the last month, he's gotten progressively weaker. A couple of weeks ago he stopped eating. He's done. Hospice has been called in to keep him comfortable, as per his wishes. In a period of lucidity, he told Ralph where he wants to be buried, and even what kind of coffin he wants.

Ralph's Mom, Florence, visits her brother every day. This is so hard for her- this is her little brother!
Ralph's brother Frank visits several times a week, and the strain is showing on him, also. Some of the "kids"- Uncle Franks great nephews and nieces - have been in to see him. My kids always called him Uncle Uncle Frank, to differentiate him from their Uncle Frank. When Heather went to see him, he thought she was Stephanie.

Helen goes almost every day. She's been Uncle Frank's best friend for years and years, and she's so good with him. The one day Ralph and I were talking to her, we were all okay, then she started to cry, and we all cried. We're all on the same page here, we know he's dying, and we so don't want him to be in any pain, and we don't want him to be afraid.

At this point, Death is Uncle Frank's friend. Death will be the permanent release from pain. We all hope there really is a Heaven (some of us are more sure of it than others of us), and if there is, we'll see him there.

Holly

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sur la Table

I'm so annoyed! I had this great blog entry written, then blogger got goofy and lost it! So much for the annoying autosave, it didn't work!

So anyway. When I was in Houston, Manda and I took a Summer Pies and Tarts class at Sur La Table. Lots of fun, and I put on the eval that they needed a store in south jersey.

When I got back, Steph was on the website, and there is at Sagemore, which is an upscale shopping center about 8 miles from here that I very rarely go to, not being an upscale person. So last night we took a Summer Desserts class.

It was wonderful! We were divided into 3 groups, and each group made one or two dishes. The teacher/chef supervised, and when one group was doing something new or interesting, she'd call us all over to see. Our group made a peach blackberry crumble, which was really good, and rocky road s'mores, which were a little two chocolaty- I'd change the ice cream to vanilla.

Another group made a sour cherry necterine cobbler, which was on the tart side. The third made vanilla ice cream, and honeydew granita.

The granita was so cool! They took a honeydew, and pureed the melon part in a food processor. Strained it, and mixed the juice with some sugar, poured it in a pan and put it in the freezer. After a half hour, they scored it with a fork and put back in the freezer. It was done when it was the consistancy of snow.

Put fresh raspberries and a little chopped mint leaf in a little glass bowl, and spoon some granita over it. Wow! So light and fresh and wonderful!

Steph signed up for a mediterranean meal class, which I won't take because they make a shellfish dish. I signed up for a No Bake Dessert class and a ravioli class, at times when Steph has classes.

And, they give you a coupon for 15% off any purchases that day, and that includes classes that you sign up for! It was a really fun evening. We all got to eat everything made, and all got all the recipes.

Holly

Monday, July 7, 2008

A quarter of a centrury old!


Today my baby turns 25! A milestone- she's now old enough to rent a car!

Stephanie Susan was born on a Thursday, at 10.15 a.m. and weighed 7 lbs. She was a tiny little thing- even our doctor joked about her being so small, after her older sisters weighed 8 lbs 7 oz, ad 9 lbs, 7 oz. She wasn't named until she was 2 days old- we were still discussing names. Ralph wanted the name Alycia, to which I responded that if I died in childbirth, he could use that name. To me, Alycia was the awful kid that lived behind us in our first house. He thought of Stephanie, and she looked like a Stephanie. Her middle name was going to be Sue, which is my middle name and Ralph's grandmom's americanized name, but Stephie Sue sounded too much like a country western song.

Of course, Stephanie was immediately shortened to Beps by Manda, who was 2 at the time.

Being the youngest and smallest, Steph of course was the bossiest from the time she could talk! She was so tiny, and had this short, straight hair, that we called her the Gelfling, from a Muppet movie.

Steph scared us all half to death when she developed appendicitis at age 11, but she did fine. She's the only one in the family who ever had her appendix out! She had the lap surgery, and was roller skating a week later.

Steph is now working for ISO, and works with fire chiefs all over the country. She got an associate's in business, and ISO paid for another associates in fire science. She's now attending Holy Family University in Philly, going for a Bachelor's in Fire Science, courtesy of ISO. She has her first apartment, near the university, where she lives with her mini-doxie, Toast.

She's gone from a tiny baby to an intelligent and beautiful young woman.
Happy Birthday Stephanie!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Manda, John and I.

It's my little brother's birthday!

So what if he's 51, and taller than I am, John is still my little brother! I have two younger brothers, and John is the youngest.

The week John turned 21, he was in a bad motorcycle accident. He was on a big Harley, with no mufflers, but a driver didn't see or hear him and turned right in front of him. John reportedly flew about 20 feet thru the air, and thankfully had a helmet on. We got the call that he was at a local hospital, but needed to be transferred to a city hospital for a spinal cord injury.

John was taken to Jefferson Hospital in Philly, where he had surgery for a T12-L1 fracture. They took a chunk from his hip to use as a patch. The neurologist told us he would never walk again. We were all devastated.

The neuro was wrong, and John began to get sensation and movement back. He was in what is called a clamshell brace. Every day my Mom would take the highspeed line to Philly and walk a mile to Jefferson to see him. The rest of us went up a couple of times a week. As each friend saw John for the first time, they were shocked.

John's friend Charlie would work construction all day, then go, still filthy, right to the hospital to spend time with John. Many nights he used the shower in John's room to clean up. He did this every day for months! (When we were recently talking about that time period, Charlie said the experience was very valuable to him, as it taught him how to be a real friend.)

Eventually John was moved to Magee Rehab, also in Philly. By the following spring, he was allowed to come home in a wheelchair, still in the clamshell brace. He wouldn't be allowed to stand for a full year after the accident.

I can remember taking John to the Berlin Auction, which is like a low class mall, and him disappearing! I was beside myself- how was I going to explain to my parents that I lost my brother, who was in a wheelchair!

John made a wonderful recovery. His only deficits are that he can only lift a limited amount, and his abdominal muscles atrophied somewhat. And he can't stand on his head anymore.

John lives in Florida with his wonderful wife Morgan. They have 20+ acres and raise a bunch of livestock, in addition to him working for a pump company. He plays the bagpipes, and his dogs sing along. He's a great guy, and I'm proud to be his big sister.

Happy Birthday John!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Houston Pictures





The first picture is at the Painted Pony Quilt Shop in LaPorte, Texas. I went with Carol, who's in the middle, and Susan, who's on the left. They are friends from the HGTV quilting message boards.
The next two pictures are of Ben, Manda and I with Ben's quilt that I made for him.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Houston, part two

On Saturday we went to Hobby Lobby, a store we don't have in the Northeast. I'd made Manda a counted XS sampler years ago, and never had it framed. It has dreamcatchers, and says "Follow your dreams, wherever they lead you". So she picked out matting and a frame, and it'll be done in about 3 weeks. I got a couple yards of fabric, of course.

We had lunch at a deli called McAllister's, which was very nice, then left Ralph and Ben to do manly things, aka go to an electronics store, while we headed off to our Summer Pie and Tarts class in Houston, at a store called La Sur de Table. It was a big kitchen supplies store, with a kitchen classroom. The instructor was a pastry chef named Rebecca Masson. We were divided into 4 groups, and each group made a project with Rebecca's help, and the rest watched. Then everyone got to sample everything. My group made a chocolate orange tart, which was fabulous. Other projects were a blueberry necterine pie, a lemon tart, and an apple pie. We got all the recipes to keep.

Back to Manda's to pick up Ben and Ralph, and go to a housewarming for a team member of Ben's. It was a fabulous house, and Andres and Lili hired a man who owns a taqueria to make fresh tacos outside on a cooker. The whole place smelled so good! We talked to people from all over who work at JSC, and had a really nice time.

Sunday we went out for Barbecue for lunch, then to Hancock's Fabrics, another store we don't have in the NE. I was disappointed that none of the quilt shops in the area were open on Sunday- Houston stores are big on being closed all day Sunday. We went to see the new Disney movie, Walle, which they all loved, and I found OK. Out to dinner at Cracker Barrel, then back to Manda's to visit. Ben tortured me by telling me he was planning to nail his quilt to the wall for a wallhanging. We packed up our stuff for the trip home.

Monday morning it was out to breakfast at La Madeline's, then to the airport to drop me off, then Manda took Ralph to the bus station. I was home by 5 pm Monday, Ralph got home yesterday around 3.

It was a wonderful trip, and the days flew by.

Holly

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Houston Trip- Part One

The day started out not so good- Rapid Rover was late, and I was the first of 4 stops. We got to Philly airport at 6.30, and my flight started boarding at 7.30. By the time I cleared security and got to my gate, there was only 20 minutes til boarding! If the security line had been long, I'd have had a real problem.

The flight was good- in fact, I slept the first hour of it! And I was brave enough to look out the window! Manda picked me up at the Houston airport, and we went into the city to go to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch. What a menu, it's like a book! We ate, and took 4 slices of cheescake to go. There was a terrible thunderstorm. We went back to her apartment in Clear Lake, and napped for an hour til Ralph called to say he was in at the bus station. Back to Houston (20 miles) to get him, then out to dinner at Frenchie's, which is right next to Johnson Space Center. It's a little place in a strip mall, with fabulous food. Ralph was exhausted after 40+ hours on trains and busses, so back to Manda's so he could shower and we could go to bed early.

Friday morning Manda and Ralph were going off to JSC so he could have (another) tour. I got picked up by Needlecrazy, a friend I've made thru the quilting boards on HGTV website. I've chatted with her for years, and had lunch with her last November at Quilt Fest. We went to a fantastic quilt shop called the Painted Pony, about a half hour from Manda's. There we met up with Texas Wildflower, another HGTV'er. What a store! It's in a strip mall, and they've expanded to the size of several stores. It's huge! We did our best to help the economy. We asked the staff to take our picture, and they were so intrigued by the fact that we had met online. A thunderstorm was coming, so we decided to go to lunch. The staff recommended a tearoom down the street called Jeanieann's, so we headed down there for some home cooking. We ate and visited, the Needlecrazy drove me back to Manda's. I got back 5 minutes before Manda and Ralph.

Manda had class Friday night, so Ralph played with her TV and laptop, and I read. On her way home, she picked up Ben so that we could all go out for gelati. I gave Ben his quilt, and he loved it! (pix to follow when Ralph gets home and helps me download them).

Houston Trip, part two, to follow.

Holly

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Road to Texas

I just printed out my boarding pass, and the laundry is washing and drying. I just have to sew down the other half of the binding and label Ben's quilt, and figure how to squish it into a big tote bag- I'm not about to let it out of my sight! I'll get a pic of him with it, and put it up here on the blog.

Ralph just called, he's almost to Chicago on his meandering trip to Houston by train. He's on the top of a double decker, so he can see a lot, and says he's having fun.

I've been to the grocery store already, and got the things Mom needs. Steph will be staying here while we're gone, so she'll be on Grandmom duty if needed. Luckily Mom lives to close by.

Now I guess I better go find the carry-on sized suitcase!

Holly

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Quilter's Rock!

I did my first big quilt on the HQ16 today. It's 84x84, and it's for Manda's boyfriend Ben. The top has been done for weeks, and everytime I thought about quilting it, I almost had an anxiety attack. My longarm quilting experience is limited to two classes and a baby quilt, which didn't go well. I finally figured out that the tension issues were me, I didn't have it tight enough thru the tension disk. So I put it off and put it off, but the quilt is going with me to Houston on Thursday, which means it really has to be done.

So I did it! Took about 4 hours, and more bobbins than I anticipated. Nothing fancy, just an all over meander. I'm so proud of it! and of myself! I had to stop halfway thru and sit for awhile, my knee was getting numb and my feet hurt. But it's done- I just have to bind it, which I'll do tonight.

Today was my first day of summer vacation- no work til Sept 2! Tomorrow I have to run around and get ready to leave for Texas on Thursday. Rapid Rover will pick me up at 5.30 a.m. for my 8 am. flight. I'm hoping to sleep for part of the 3 hour, 45 minute flight.

Holly

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Another Thursday

This week has been so busy, but is going by soooo slow! On Monday, Ralph and my brother Mike took out the old dining room set, and brought in the new one. Tuesday I put most of the dishes and things into the new china closet and sideboard. Both nights I crocheted for about an hour.

Wednesday was dinner with the nurses. We went to a place called Carolina Blue, which serves a lot of barbecue. It was okay. Came home, and Ralph went to bed early. I was sitting watching TV and crocheting, and Toast appeared! Steph was going to Heather's overnight, so Toast was staying here, and they snuck in and surprised us.

Heather got her eyes done today. She's wanted to do it for years, and she's much braver than I am. She did fine, and now Steph is seriously considering it. I guess I'm a pessimist, but I'm too afraid, since it's not 100% guaranteed to have no side effects.

Two more days of work, then off til Sept 2! And one week til I go to Houston to see Manda! Ralph and I are going at the same time, but he's spending 40+ hours on a train, and I'm spending 4 hours on a plane.

So no quilting done this week- it was easier to just sit down and pick up the crocheting. I have to get Ben's quilt up on the HQ, so I can take it with me to Houston!

And now I'm off to bed.

Holly

Sunday, June 15, 2008

What a weekend!




This has been one of those weekends that I need to go to work to recover from! We started the day yesterday by going to a street long yardsale here in town. The first house, the lady was giving away videotapes- she just wanted to get rid of them. We did our share by taking about 20 older movies. Then we moved along. We got a window AC unit for Steph, a wagon for the kids, some brand new Disney store stuffies for Julia, John Deere plaques for Eddie, a portable phone for me for work. We came home, and made breakfast, and Steph and Toast arrived. Steph helped Ralph move her old bedroom furniture to the truck.

We went to Mike and Donna's for Jake's birthday party. We met Heather and Ed and the kids there. They brought their truck, so the guys just slid the furniture from one truck to the other.
As the picture aboove shows, Julianna approved of the cookie/ice cream cake!

We came home, and I looked at a dining room set on Craigslist. It was only in the next town, so we called, went to see it, and went back with the truck and bought it. It's a cream colored wood. We left it in the truck overnight. Today I emptied the china closets, and put everything on the kitchen counters. The china closets are heavy, so Mike will stop by tomorrow and help Ralph get them out to the garage, where they can sit til someone claims them. Ralph unloaded the "new" set into the garage. Steph and I went to Sam's club, then I took a nap while she ran errands. We had a Sam's club chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes and carrots for the Father's Day dinner, then Steph did some blog maintainence for me before she headed home with Toast.

Whew! So at the momemt, the whole place is a wreck. My summer plan is to establish a home for everything, and to try to keep everything in it's home. Maybe I can get the place uncluttered enough so that I can have a cleaning person!

Holly

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hot Hot Hot

It was 100 degrees Monday and Tuesday- schools all over closed half a day, because it was just too hot for the kids. Thunderstorms last night cooled things down all the way to the upper 80's, so today was bearable.

Mom came home from the hospital Friday, and is on a boatload of meds. They want keep her on the meds another 4 weeks before deciding what to do about the afib. She has an appointment in three weeks, so I'll go with her.

I actually got in some quilting time! I finished the top for Ben's Badass Whole Entire Quilt, and hope to quilt it this weekend. I also made the wallhanging that Steph designed- I hope she likes it. When she comes home this weekend, I'll get her to help me (translation: do it for me) put pictures up.

I also finished the afghan I was crocheting, but since it's for a gift, I won't put a pic up yet.

My youngest nephew, Jacob, turned 8 on Monday. Jacob is my brother Mike's youngest son. His big brothers are 23 and 21, and his big sister/cousin is 18, so Jake is well loved without being spoiled. He has the sweetest disposition! Jake and my Dad were real tight. When Dad died, I took all his jeans and flannel shirts and made Jake a quilt. One row is all pockets, which Jake thinks is really cool. The quilt weighs a ton, and will last for about ever. It's the kind of quilt that's meant to be dragged around.

I don't know how much I'll get done the rest of this week. Tomorrow night I go to a retirement dinner right after work, and Friday night is usually Suzy Homemaker night- I do the laundry, tidy up, and go to bed early.

Holly