Monday, July 26, 2010

Another Monday

On Saturday the grand-dogs came to stay with me while Steph went to NYC for the day. Toast is always happy to be here- at one time she'd be here for months at a time. When Steph was working full time and going to school 4 nights a week, Toast would stay here so she wouldn't be lonely. The tradeoff was that Steph was lonely, and I'm glad she doesn't have to keep that schedule anymore.
Toast settles in fine, she curls up on the couch or the bed.
Whiskey is more needy. He wants to be on a lap, and here he's licking my leg. He's faster to warm up to women than men, and we think a man wasn't kind to him at some point in his life before he came to his forever home with Steph and Toast.
My granny strip afghan is coming along! It really works up fast.
I bought a "skin" for my Nook.
This is the back. It reminds me of the trees that are on my shower curtain from Target. Every week Barnes and Noble has free book Friday, where you can download a specific book. This week there were two, and they both look good. I also downloaded a new book that was only $3.99. I have a limit that I'll spend, and I don't buy anything that my Mom would read- those I get from the library.
This quilt hangs behind my couch, and it's the favorite quilt that I've made. The white is actually a small floral print, and the green is a batik. Folded on the back of the couch is the quilt my internet group made me. I love looking at it!
The hospital was going to trash a CPR dummy, so of course Ralph brought it home. Every time I came down the hall it would scare me, so he put a towel over it. He's going to take pix of it on his tractor.

I've gotten hooked on daytime TV! Good thing for the DVR! I dvr The View, The Doctors, Ellen, Dr. Phil and sometimes Oprah. And Clean House when it's one I haven't seen. At least I never just watch TV, I crochet while it's on, so I don't feel like I'm totally wasting time.

I have a social life! Last week I had dinner with Roseanne, Ralph and I had dinner with "the nurses", we went to Nancy's and met some friends for munchies, gossip and swimming, and Franny and I went to Pennsville for a fundraiser for the library and visited with Cookie Swap at the Riverview Inn. All in one week! It feels so great to feel well!

And I'm cooking at half of the time! Better for us than eating out, and cheaper. I made Hawaiian Ham Casserole, which lasted a couple of meals, and yesterday I made chili, which we can have again today. And I can't believe July is almost over!

And the beat goes on!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hot July Sunday!

Miss Millie lays under air conditioning vents! She's not dumb- well she is, but not about that.
This is my 321st post to my blog!
This is the quilt my internet friends made me. I couldn't get the entire thing in one pic and still be able to see details.
Here's a closeup of one of the blocks. Several of the group each made a block, Amanda assembled it (not my Amanda, LOL) and Ashley quilted it.
This is the backing fabric, so nice and cheerful! How could I not get better with all those colors!
I couldn't get the entire label in one pic and have it still be readable.
Lou made the label- isn't it gorgeous! I frequently nap on the couch under the quilt, and it always makes me smile. What a wonderful group of friends!
I finished this yesterday- it's about six feet long. A simple double crochet picking up the back loop only to give it texture.
I'm reading this from the library. It's a mystery, about a TV reported named Riley. It's the third in the series about Riley, and they're quick reads.
These are some of the colors for my next project, which is called Granny Stripe. I saw it on and she has a link to the tutorial on Lucy's site. You have to fasten it off at the end of every 2 rows, when you change colors. I was trying to avoid that, and just tie in the new color, but then the edges aren't straight.
Here's the first two rows- it's a nice dark purple, which the skylight and the flash made washed out looking. The chain has to be a multiple of 3, and I think I did 180, so it'll be a nice size.

Ralph and I went to the diner for breakfast. Scrambled eggs, bacon, home fries, toast and orange juice. I brought some of mine home, and I still won't need lunch!

It's going up in the 90's again today! Ralph is out cutting the grass (weeds!) before it gets too hot.

Sur La Table had a soft serve ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbet machine on sale with free shipping. I had it sent to Eddie and Juliana. They made strawberry soft serve in it, and Eddie said it's the best ice cream he's ever had! And they love to get packages! Heather knew it was coming, and we followed the tracking number, so they were home when it arrived. The machine is by Cuisinart, and it's also available on amazon. Heather said it has a great recipe book with it, so they can make lots of different things.

And the beat goes on!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rainy Wednesday

It's been raining off and on since yesterday. This is a good thing, because we sure need it. It hasn't helped the humidity, though.

I'm a believer of things happening for a reason. As my Mom says, you may not like the reason, but it's there. My grandmother Yardley died several years ago. She wasn't in the best of health, so no one was surprised, but she wasn't ancient- she was about 80. Months later, my Uncle John died at the age of 49. He was the youngest of the siblings, and he died in a stupid, preventable home accident. At his funeral, his siblings said that was why MomMom died, because Uncle John's death would have killed her.

Julianna was born 4 weeks early, and was really tiny. My parents got to see her several times, before my Dad died heartbreakingly suddenly when she was 5 weeks old. If she had been born nearer to her due date, Dad may not have got to see her, or to see her only once. So Julianna was born early so that Dad could spend time with her.

I was really sick earlier this year. I had a procedure on March 23 that was supposed to be wonderful. It wasn't. Three ER visits and 4 units of blood later, it was determined that I needed a hysterectomy, which required 3 more units of blood. Three days postop I had an episode of atrial fibrulation. 7 days postop I had a wound infection, and was back in the hospital for 5 days of IV antibiotics. Then home with a wound vaccuum, visiting nurses, and antibiotics that made me vomit every day. Two more visits, via ambulance, to the ER in afib. The third episode put me in the hospital my cardiologist works from, and the issue got addressed with a med to keep me in rhythm.

I feel like I lost the six weeks of my life between the procedure and the surgery. Sick people don't make good decisions, and I wasn't doing what my nurse friends were urging me to do- either push for the surgery, or get a second opinion. I'm angry about what I see as the lost six weeks, but it's over and done with. I don't think my physician is incompatent, but I think she, and gyn's in general, are not aggressive enough with some issues. (Kinda basing that on what the ER docs and nurses said, as well as things I've read.) An online friend referred my to a wonderful website called HysterSisters. I've read of a lot of women's experiences there.

So, there is a reason for all I went through, and it will eventually become evident. One byproduct of the whole experience has been that Ralph and I have become closer. He took 3 weeks of family leave during the saga, because I needed him to be with me.

I have a new respect for women having c-sections. I told my daughters that if they ever need a c-section I will be on a plane immediately, and stay with them as long as they want. I can't imagine the surgery I had, and ending up with a baby to care for, too! So maybe that's part of why I had to go thru the experience.

I think going thru the experience will make me a more compassionate nurse. I'm not sure when I'd put the particular experience to use, since I work in a school with adolescents.

Bottom line is that since I believe everything happens for a reason, the reason will eventually become evident.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday, Monday

Steph just reminded me that I didn't do a post about her on her birthday. She's right-I was busy watching her dogs, and never even thought about it!

Stephanie Susan was born on July 7, 1983. Ralph and I had been discussing names, and couldn't come up with anything we both liked. He wanted Alicia ( I told him if I died in childbirth he could go with Alicia) and I don't remember what I wanted. The nurses actually brought me a list of baby names on the second day! When we saw the name Stephanie, we both said "She looks like a Stephanie!." My middle name is Sue, and Ralph's grandmother was Susie (Americanized from the Italian Asunta) but Stephanie Sue sounded like a country western song, so we went with Susan.

I had some labor pains the day before, which was my brother John's birthday. It would have been cool for them to share a birthday, but Steph wanted her own! She was born at 10:15 on a hot July morning. We were only at the hospital a couple hours when she was born. She was so little- only 7 pounds!

Manda is 25 months older than Steph, and of course she couldn't say Steph or Stephanie, so she called her Bepps. Heather was 6 1/2, and was a big help.

When Steph got to school, she always had about a hundred best friends- she was always so social. When she and Manda got to high school, they didn't get along at all. They'd go days without speaking to each other. That all changed when Manda went away to school and then moved to Houston. From 1500 miles away, they get along wonderfully!

Steph wasn't sure what she wanted to do in life, so she took some basic college classes and went to work for a temp agency. They sent her to ISO (Insurance Services Organization), and ISO liked her so much that they hired her. She works with fire chiefs all over the country. Every town has a rating, and that rating sets the homeowner's insurance- Steph is a part of that!

And ISO paid for her college! She got her Associates Degree from our county college, transferred to Holy Family University in Philly, and just earned her BA in Fire Science. She was permanently on the Dean's List and graduated with high honors! In September she starts at St. Joe's University in Philly to go for a Master's in Fire Science and Public Safety Administration! And her work will pay most of it!

Along the way, Steph acquired Cinnamon Toast, her mini longhaired dachshund. Steph and Toast moved to an apartment near Holy Family. A year later, they moved to a bigger apartment in Mt. Laurel, much closer to her work and to us. Last fall Steph opened her home and her heart to Whiskey, a short haired rescue dachshund. He's about Toast's age, but skinny and high strung and needy. He's such a sweetheart, and I'm so proud of Steph for adopting him.

Steph is my "go to" girl. She's always there when we need her. Between work, school and a social life, she's one busy lady! She just got back from the North American Summerfest, a vegetarian/vegan conference that was held in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Happy Birthday Stephanie! We love you!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sweltering Sunday morning!

These are the beautiful flowers that my school sent me. I went back to work on June 28, and worked the three days before school got out on June 30. I got all the reports and paperwork done that needed to be done, and Ralph went in with me on July 1 to take the computer pieces apart and store them for the summer. It felt good to be back and see everyone, but I was tired by the end of the days!
Steph left the pups here on July 4. She was going to a barbecue and thought the dogs would be afraid of fireworks if they were alone in the apartment. Whiskey is on the left, Toast on the right. The dogs came back here on July 6, and we'll take them home tonight. Steph has been in Pittsburgh on a vegetarian/vegan Summerfest conference.
I don't know how the pic got on twice, and don't know how to remove the duplicate.
Whiskey curled up with Ralph in the recliner.
Friday night was MacKenzie and Connor's birthday parties. MacKenzie, who turned 3, wanted a Piggy Party. Connor turned 8, and his Phillies cake is sort of visible. Sharon made both cakes.
The piggie was made in ball pans, with cupcakes for legs, M&M's for eyes, and a pipe cleaner for a tail.
Sharon did such a great job on the cakes!
MacKenizie has piggy barrettes for her piggy party! She got lots of stuffed piggies in all sizes.

The honeymooners are home in Houston! They had a wonderful time in Kaui, and are eager to go back again. They're settling into Ben's apartment.

Here's something I didn't know. In this area, the bride carries a white drawstring bag to hold the cards that guests give her, or there's a container for the cards. Ben, who's from Nebraska, never heard of that. Nebraska guest mail you your gifts. Who knew the customs would be so different?

I'm 9 weeks and 3 days postop, and feeling better by the day. I started cooking again, and have been to the grocery store twice by myself (when Ralph is home to unload the groceries). From everything I've read, I won't be back to full "normal" for 6 months. I guess I'm about 85% at this point. I haven't vaccuumed, and don't carry anything the least bit heavy.

I've been making an afghan out of shades of green, and it's moving along well. Whiskey wants to be on a lap all the time, so I haven't been in the sewing room. I sit in the recliner and crochet, with him snuggled up.

It's slightly cooler today, in the upper 70's, but there's about 150% humidity. Coming back from the store, I was sweating with the car's AC on.

I just finished a really good library book- Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo. It's the second book about Kate, who's a police chief in Ohio. She's a lapsed Amish woman. The books are intense, and a little gory in places, but really good. Before that I read Jennifer Chiaverrini's newest, called The Aloha Quilt. It was very good, but a little preachy about Hawaiian history at times.

And the beat goes on!


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Ben and Manda's wedding.

This is the back of Manda's gown- they were steaming it before dressing her. When she first said it had green trim, I wasn't sure I'd like it. The girls gowns are the same shade of green, and I love them all! You can't see the beading in this picture.
Making the bride (more) beautiful! The photographer is to the left, and the stylist to the right.
Maid of honor Steph lacing Manda into the gown. We were in the bridal suite.
My distinguished looking husband Ralph, Father of the Bride!
You can see the trolley we rode in the background. The bride and her father!
She was so beautiful it took your breath away. Ben had tears, and we all cried along with him. Danielle was a groomswoman- she's the wife of Kyle, the Best Man. They have both been friends of Ben since junior high.
Becca (Ben's sister), Julianna, Heather and maid of honor Steph. Steph has now been maid of honor for both her sisters.
The wedding party with the Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Briles.
The photographer told the girls to heckle the bride and groom. If you click on the pic and make it full sized, you can see the faces they are making. I have this pic as my wallpaper- I love it.
Julianna- isn't she just so cute! Luckily her other grandparents had driven and had a cooler of drinks and snacks for her and Eddie- smart grandparents!

I didn't take any pix of the reception. When the photographer gives us the link to the proofs, I'll post it. Manda and Ben are in Hawaii now, enjoying some down time. Planning a wedding is time consuming, even with the help of a wedding planner, and Manda did it from 1500 miles away. She did a terrific job! Congratulations to Ben and Manda!



From left to right- Polly and Randy (Ben's parents), Ralph, Rebecca, Heather with Julie, Steph, Manda, Ben, Kyle, Ed with Eddie and groomswoman Danielle. We are in Washington's Crossing State Park in Pennsylvania. The wedding planners have their backs to the camera. (click on pix to make full size.)
Ed and Eddie- Heather and Julie are hard to see.
How the grouping will look after the ceremony and they go back down the aisle.
Groom and Bride!
At the rehearsal dinner.
Julianna looks good in chocolate! She loved the brownie.
Mother of the Bride- that would be me!The rehearsal and dinner went very well. The Landings, where it was held, has a back deck right on the Delaware River, and our hotel did a fireworks display that night, so almost everyone went outside to see it.

I'll be back with wedding pix- I didn't want the blog entry to be too long.