Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's just another New Year's Eve

 I've learned some things in 2011. One is do not save every cardboard box you ever get something in. This was the pile in Sam's front yard after we cleaned the attic! It took weeks to get it all out in the recycling. Ralph was crushing and tying piles each week.
This is a 20 yard dumpster. I ordered a ten yard, but they didn't have any available so they gave us a 20. It was filled from the basement and some from the attic. Junk. Broken ceramic, broken things, just junk. I knew Sam wasn't good at throwing things away, but had no idea it was this bad.

I kept the wrappers of all the yarn I used in 2011, and probably the last two months of 2010. Today I counted the wrappers. I used 93 skeins of yarn, ranging from 3.5 to sixteen ounces. A total of 613 ounces, or 40.9 pounds of yarn! That's a lot of yarn! I didn't keep track of how many afghans I made. Manda took about a half dozen baby afghans to give to her friends having babies. Some of the adult sized afghans were given as gifts, some are earmarked for different people.

In 2011 I read 141 books. 49 of them were on the Nook, Kindle, or my own books. The rest were from the library.

In 2011 I finally listened to my friend Roseanne and hired my niece to clean my house. One of the smartest things I've ever done!

In 2011 my longtime friend Sam died after fighting the good fight for ten years. I was able to go there every night for 6 months to perform a nursing procedure, so she wouldn't have to have the on call hospice nurse do it. My 19 year old cat, Miss Millie, also died in 2011. The two losses left a big hole in my life.

In 2011 I did very little sewing and/or quilting. I was so upset all year that I did a lot of crocheting, which is mindless once you get it going, which is how I used up so much yarn.

A big lesson from 2010 was Sick People Do Not Make Good Decisions. That was reinforced in 2011. I also learned (again) that as long as I have Ralph with me, I can do anything.

I hope 2012 is kind to us!
Holly





Thursday, December 29, 2011

A week of Christmas!

 We had our immediate family Christmas celebration on Monday, December 26, at Ed and Heather's House. Heather had to work Christmas Eve night, so we waited til Monday. Manda knitted matching hats for Ed and Eddie!
 At least two years ago Manda and Ben vacationed in Colorado and bought this beer holster for Ed. They finally remembered to bring it to him!
 Julainna had a great time opening gifts.
 Eddie got a digital camera from Aunt Steph.
 This was Dan's first Christmas with us, and we look forward to many more.
 Manda and Ben watched Julianna opening gifts. Eddie's playhouse is in the background. Julie got a pink princess castle/tent.
 Mom Florence looks more frail every time I see her. She had a busy weekend- Xmas Eve dinner at Kevin and Naureen's, Christmas Day at Sharon's, and Monday with us. She got consumable gifts- 2 bottles of wine, cookies, and chocolate!
 Mom Mary Jane is also showing her age. She was at Mike and Donna's on Christmas Day, and Ed and Heather's on Monday.
 Our beautiful hostess Heather! Her birthday is today. How did I get old enough to have a daughter of that age? She and Ed worked very hard and had a wonderful dinner for us.
 Ralph grew his goatee, and I haven't decided if I like it yet.
 Too much partying for Ben!
Manda got on the floor with Eddie and Julianna to play with their toys.

And what is the holiday without a disaster? Our sewer line got clogged on Christmas Day! Lucky Mom is only 2 blocks away, and we went there and showered every day. Ralph tried a snake, having the system pumped, and finally rented a big machine and cleared it out.

Disaster #2- Mom broke a tooth on Christmas Day. It was a cap, and it broke off at the gum line. The dentist is on vacation all week, and she has an appointment next Monday.

And the beat goes on!
Holly

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Vacation

We had a half day today, and now we're off til January 3, 2012. The kids at school were so ready to be off- I don't think a lot of learning went on this week.

When I stopped at the bank and the card store, I was wished "Happy Holidays". I know the employees can get in trouble if they say "Merry Christmas," but when I responded with "Merry Christmas", both workers said Merry Christmas back. We are entirely too politically correct.

I had dinner with the nurses Wednesday night, which is always fun. With everything we all have going on, we hadn't got together for 3 months, so we had lots to catch up on. Manda and Ben got in late last night, and Steph and Dan picked them up at the airport. We fed them Amish Market food when they got here- chicken croquettes, twice baked potatoes, and various desserts. Today a friend of theirs came down from CT, and they're all out together at Steph and Dan's

. I went to visit Lou today- I try to get there twice a week, and Ralph goes once a week. He seems to be settling in, and is using the walker. It's only been 8 weeks, and of course he's still grieving.

Ralph took Cliffie to the vet, and it turned out as we expected, that Cliffie is a she, a spayed female. We've been inviting her in, but she comes in and goes right back out. We figure when it gets really cold she'll move in. We miss Millie so much! I automatically look for her when I come into a room.

I have 2 more gifts to wrap- the last package came today. Tomorrow we're going to Kevin and Naureen's for Christmas Eve dinner. Sunday is Mike and Donna's for Christmas dinner, and Monday we go to Ed and Heather's for dinner and presents.

And so it goes!

Holly

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rest in Peace, Miss Millie

We lost our Miss Millie today.
She was about 19. She just showed up on our deck one day, and wouldn't leave, so we invited her in, and she never left.
As an aside, blogger is acting weird today. When I upload the pictures, all I see is computer language, not the picture. It's new, and disturbing. Anyway, Manda named her Milly, but I always spelled it Millie. Millie and Frenzy, our sweet faced but evil gray cat, never got along. They couldn't even use the same litter pan or eat in the same location.
Millie decided years ago that she was Ralph's cat. She slept on him, and curled up with him whenever any part of him was horizontal.
She did enjoy helping me sew. She was great at keeping the fabric still.
If she was helping me, I wasn't supposed to try to move the fabric- that got me a swat. She's been slowing down a lot this past year, and losing weight. A visit to the vet didn't do anything but upset her. This week she pretty much stopped eating, and didn't move around much. She did not seem to be in any pain, and we didn't want her last experience to be traumatic for all involved, so we just keep a close eye on her. She laid down in the closet last night, and passed away peacefully in her sleep. Like with my friend Sam, knowing the end is near doesn't make it any easier to bear. My heart breaks for Ralph. I'm grateful that she, like Sam, passed peacefully in her sleep. I wrote on Facebook that no one else better die this year, or even get sick, or I'm going to be really mad at them. I'm so tired of grieving, tired of crying, tired of being sad. I'm just tired. Holly

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Good grief, another weekend!

So much for posting more often!
Heather and Ed had a couple of friends over yesterday, and at the last minute invited us and his parents and Mike and Donna. They had a sandwich tray, and the usual munchies. I always enjoy spending time with Ed and Jeanne and Mike and Donna. We old folk all left together about 8.30, and the young ones probably went on for hours.

Steph and Dan had a ski weekend in Stowe, and will be home late tonight, so Toast and Whiskey have been visiting us.They are well behaved, but they do have to be taken out, and it's cold out!

It's six weeks today that Sam passed, and two weeks that Lou has been in the assisted living. He's looking so much better, and is putting on weight. Ralph had him to the eye doctor on Friday, and they think glasses will help, so they're ordered. And he's asked for physical and occupation therapy, and a walker with a seat! Sam always discouraged him from doing anything for himself, and I'm so happy he's taking the initiatve. I talked to the nurse on duty, and they'll get the order tomorrow for the PT/OT. I just want him to be happy for however much time he has left.

Miss Millie is getting even skinner and more frail. She wants whatever we're eating, and is glued to Ralph.

We're looking forward to Manda and Ben coming home for Christmas! My shopping is coming along slowly. Most of it is from amazon- love amazon!

And another week starts tomorrow!
Holly

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's December time

Every day I think I should do a blog post, then I go to do something else and forget. November was very busy and somewhat stressful. Every weekend we worked at Lou's house, cleaning and sorting. I stopped to see him on the way home from work every day for 20 minutes or so.

Last Friday we moved him into the assisted living. I was so afraid the weather would get bad and none of us would be able to get to him, and I swore to Sam that I'd make sure he's taken care of. He went back and forth between "Get me there now" to "I don't want to go." His wonderful aide packed up his clothing and toiletries, and I called his hospice for help. When we went to pick him up, he was all dressed and ready to go, which was a relief. I took him and his clothes, and Ralph took his old recliner and side table with lamp. When we arrived, the director whisked him off to have lunch, while we unpacked for him.

When I saw him yesterday, he seems to be settling in. He told me how his waiter tells him the specials, since he can't read the menu. His food arrives cut up. He told me every meal he's eaten! He's interested in going on the bus trips the asst living runs to local stores, even if he just stays on the bus. His aide does his laundry, showers him, and takes him outside. He's lonely, but it's only been 5 weeks since Sam passed.

Thanksgiving was wonderful. We ate at Mike and Donna's as usual. I made sweet potatoes, broccoli, little hot dogs in crescent rolls, cranberry crescent appetizers, and of course Joseph's Trifle. Heather, Ed and the kids were there for most of the day, then left to go to Ed's parents for dessert. Steph and Dan started out at his parents, and joined us for dessert. The food and the company were great. Jake gave me printouts of the items he'd like for Xmas. He tried to teach me how to play Angry Birds on my new Kindle Fire. Mom Florence enjoyed a few glasses of wine. We took the Mom's home around 6, and we were yawning by 9.

Ben's team at work has adopted a family for Christmas. The two year old girl of the family wants a blanket, so Manda called to see if I had an extra small afghans. I have some pretty pink and white yarn, so I immediately started a small afghan.

Heather and Ed put up their tree last week. I asked Julianna about it, and she told me it would be prettier if it was pink and purple. She said Mommy decorated it in "brown and red." I asked Heather, who clarified that the tree is gold and red. Julianna would like the world to be pink and purple!

Eddie informed Heather that he needs a laptop because he is almost a teenager. As it happened, we had my older laptop around, saved from when I got my new one. Ralph restored it to factory settings and we took it down to him. Heather said that day Eddie kept asking her when his laptop was coming. It's so wonderful to have them living back in south jersey, where we can see them so much more often.

I didn't read much in November, only 7 books, which brings the year's total to 129 so far. Of the 7, 2 were read on the Nook and the rest from the library. I was working on another scrappy afghan, then switched to work on the pink and white one.

We have December birthdays! Ed's is on the 8th, nephew David is the 19th, Heather is the 29th, and Kamee and Megan are right before Christmas. Ben and Manda arrive a couple of days before Christmas! They did Thanksgiving/Xmas in Nebraska, and we get them for Christmas. We only have one nurse schedule to work around now, since Ralph is retired. Heather is working Christmas Eve night. She'll go home, see what Santa brought, sleep, and go visit Ed's family. On the 26th we'll do gifts and dinner at her house. She and Steph have decided to rotate houses for the Christmas dinner.

Not doing Christmas on Christmas was hard the first time. But the alternative was to not have at least one nurse present. Once we slid the day a few times, it's gotten to be second nature for us. It works out great for Mom Florence, since she gets to do the holiday twice, once with Frank and Charlotte's family and once with us.

We'll see Mike and Donna at Mom Mary Jane's Christmas morning. Mike and Donna pick up bagels on their way up, and we have breakfast together.

Miss Millie is really showing her age- she's at least 18. She doesn't have many teeth, sleeps all the time, and forgets that she's just eaten and tortures Ralph to feed her. She can't jump- she has a little staircase up to the table her food dish is on, and she uses her claws to get up on the bed. She's velcro'd to Ralph. She isn't in any pain, and she's eating and using the litter pan, so we just watch her.

And the beat goes on!
Holly

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Twenty yards of trash

I ordered a ten yard dumpster, but they didn't have one available, so they sent me a twenty yard one. Good thing! Sherry had her nephew and a friend of his out yesterday to Lou's, and they filled half the dumpster and cleaned about half the basement. The basement is 800 square feet, and it was filled with boxes 3 deep of old paints, pieces of wood, wooden cut outs, ceramic greenware pieces, and just plain trash. A lady starting a ceramic store had already picked up the usable greenware and bisque after it was listed on craigslist.

Today it was back to the basement. We had Sherry's guys again (17 year olds saving for cars), Steph, Dan, Ralph, and 3 other guys that are relatives or friends of Steph and Dan. They all wore masks and gloves, and went up and down the steps about a zillion times. We split the crew, and some worked on the basement with Sherry supervising, and Ralph went in the attic and handed down boxes to others. I was the sorter, making executive decisions as to what can be sold for money. Not much. Most it it was out and out trash- bags of old clothes, yarn empty appliance boxes, broken small appliances. There were 5 Xmas trees! Mom wants one to put outside a window for birds to roost in. The others were put outside, and a man passing by stopped and took them.

Another man who scavenges metal took the junk metal. People in a huge truck came and took the wood scraps for kindling. The attic and basement and sunroom were a lot of trash and a very few treasures. It was incredibly sad, going thru and wondering why on earth items were saved.

Lou didn't handle it well. He wanted everything gone before he'll leave to go to assisted living, so we're not wasting any time. I want him safe and settled before the bad weather starts. He did some yelling and some cursing, and retreated to his bedroom. A hospice nurse came by, and she was talking to him.

I just keep telling him that I swore to Sam that I'd make sure he was well cared for. His hospice nurse told me that nothing I do will make him happy, so just do what I have to do. My friend Barbara gave me good perspective. She said that he knows that no matter how much he yells at me, I'll come back, so I'm his soft place to fall. I can live with that.

I fell the other night. I missed a step, tried to move fast to catch my balance, and it a brick wall with my right hand- the same hand I hit when I fell in Kennedy Hospital last spring. For a day or so I thought I'd fractured it, but of course nurses are the worst patients and I wouldn't go get it looked at. It feels better each day.

And that's the week so far. A little crocheting, some reading of quilting boards, but not a bit of sewing.
Holly

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I'm buried in papers!

It's 2 weeks today that Sam passed.
Yesterday Ralph and I, and Steph and Dan got to the house around 10. Hospice sent out a nurse for 4 hours, heaven knows why, but it worked out because she entertained Lou and cut bubble wrap for us.
Lou is adamant (at the top of his lungs, several times a day) that he can't leave til the last thing that was Linda's is out of the house. Except the furniture, because he thinks Steph wants it all.
So we came armed with boxes and bubble wrap and trash bags. We started packing and sorting, and we had so much for Sherry's charity that we called her and asked her to come over. She and Tony came over and helped for a couple of hours, and left with a carload.
Today Steph and Dan and I went down for a couple of hours. I took Lou coffee, as I always do. Steph and Dan were packing in the office room, and I was sorting in the living room, and talking to Lou.
I've brought home boxes and boxes and bags of papers, and sorted them. Deeds are mixed up with receipts from the grocery store. The bag I just sorted was old checkbooks of Sam's parents, and lots of papers of her Aunt Carrie's. Most to burn, so to just trash.
The moral of the story is, don't save every piece of paper you've ever gotten in the mail!

Tomorrow I hope to meet with Lou's hospice nurse on the way home from work, and get some input from her.
Tonight I think I'm going to veg out in front of the TV and crochet for a bit.
Back to work tomorrow.

Holly

Friday, November 11, 2011

In the middle of the night

Even the cat is asleep. She looked at me like I was nuts when I came into the family room a few minutes ago. Sleep issues and middle age seem to go together.

It's 12 days since Sam passed. Lou is having a hard time- he's grieving, and lonely, and frustrated. With his vision and hearing issues added to the weakness from his strokes, he is so limited in what he can do independently. His hospice nurse is on vacation til Monday, and his social worker got the bright idea that he needed to go to their respite care- in Trenton! 9 PM Wednesday she's at the house making this strong suggestion, which I flatly refused. So then she decided he couldn't be alone and had an aide come out for the night, which was OK but she annoyed him all night.

We had an appointment to take him Thursday morning to see the assisted living that Ralph's mom lives at. It's close to us, maybe 6 miles away. He was very impressed, and was talking to a couple of the men who live there. We had lunch there, and as long as his hospice nurse approves of the place, says he'll go. He's so lonely, and there is plenty of stimulation there, and he'll be safe.

Lou is a Marine, served in WWII and Korea. He says he is on duty, guarding the house until we get all of Linda's things (which includes her mom and aunt's things) out, then he can leave. So we're going to do a big packing this weekend. He doesn't care if it takes months- I want him settled in as soon as possible. I swore to Sam that I would make sure he is taken care of.

Who ever thought that an 86 year old husband would outlive his 59 year old wife?

And that's why I'm up in the middle of the night.

Holly

Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's November

It's November! The time changed last night, so it gets dark really early as the year winds down.
I was at Lou's for a couple of hours raking out the office room. 4 more bags of trash out of there. Then Ralph and I met Steph and Dan at the Olive Garden for dinner, and now I'm ready to call it a night.

In November we have birthdays! Kevin, Franny, Morgan, Donna and Joseph. It's also a great month to work in a school We're off Tuesday for Election Day, Thursday and Friday is teacher's convention, the day before Thanksgiving is a half day, and off Thanksgiving and the day after.

I read 18 books in October. 16 from the library, and 2 of my own. I just finished the next to last Bay Tanner mystery by Kathryn Wall. The library doesn't have the most recent one yet. I'm almost done another full sized afghan, this one with 2 strands of yarn worked together.

Good night all!
Holly

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I'm exhausted.

This morning Ralph and I met Steph at Lou's. Sherry, who is another long time friend of Sam's, met us there with husband Tony and nephew Brandon. Brandon is 17 and wants a car, so he's been hiring himself out to Sam all year doing yardwork. Sherry manages an animal rescue charity, and was getting ceramic greenware and bisque from the basement to sell for the charity.

I haven't had the nerve to go into the basement. For years Sam had a ceramic business, and the basement was for storage. Things got damp from the last big rain, and it smells musty big time. Sherry and Tony made about a million trips up and down the steps. Ralph alternated between helping them and working in the yard with Brandon.

Steph tackled the kitchen. The cabinets were packed, as was the countertops, stove, and table. I don't think anyone has eaten at the table in at least 20 years. Steph went thru and bagged duplicates of pots and pans and glassware to go to Goodwill- she filled two boxes. Stale cereal will go to the birds, and fresh cereal, which Lou doesn't eat, was taken by Brandon.

I tackled the bedroom. Lou could barely get in to go to bed, and I'm so afraid of him falling when he's alone. He's given us carte blanche to clean and get rid of things. There's very little of Lou in the house, it's all Sam, with a touch of her mom. There were piles of clothes on the floor, in boxes, and on a hanging rack. Lou said they haven't used the closet in years. I boxed up all the usuable clothes for Goodwill, and tossed the worn or stained. I ended up with about 8 big bags for Goodwill, and at least that many trashbags! We cleaned out the closet and hung Lou's clothes in in, and the extra rack can be taken down. He had all his socks, tees and underwear crammed into one drawer of the 3 drawer bureau, now he can use all three.

We took a pizza break, then everyone got back to work. When we stopped at 4 PM, all the leaves that have fallen so far have been put out to the curb for the boro to pick up. Steph and I made a Goodwill run, and every trash can if packed, and there's probably 10 trash bags filled. When we left, Sherry was still in the basement sorting.

Lou was, as he said, staying out of the way, but checking on the progress each of us made. He was amazed by the fact that there is a floor in his room! And he can walk from the living room to the bedroom without turning sideways!

Last night Ralph and I hung out with Eddie and Julianna for the time between when Heather left for work and Ed got home. Whenever a toy commercial came on, Julie wanted the toy. Eddie's a little pickier about what he wants. He was leaning against me and I was rubbing his back- it's just so wonderful to have them back in NJ.

Ralph is already sleeping, and I'm about to go to bed. We ain't 21 anymore, we ain't even 41 anymore!

Holly

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hoarders R Us

On the radio today it said that one in 25 people have hoarding tendencies. They were so describing Sam! Ralph and Dan carried out the old couch, and we started cleaning and recycling. We worked for about an hour and a half, and had to stop when we ran out of trash cans and recycling bins. Plus we were all starving.

We got Lou fed and settled for the night, and headed out. Ralph took me to pick up the Caravan, which now has two new tires. On the way in today, the car started to get a little shaky. Here, the one tire was like shredded on the inside! He had to come put the donut on for me.

We did a good afternoon's work, and Lou can now walk down the hall without danger of falling.

Monday, October 31, 2011

A new chapter

When someone passes ( I can't bring myself to say she died), it creates a whole new set of things to do. People to contact, various arrangements to make. sorting to be done.

None of us slept well last night- the mind just keeps going round and round. I went to work today, and on my lunch break got a lot of the phone calls made. I went to see Lou after work today, and the hospice people had just been there to pick up equipment. The funeral guy came to get a signature. Lou's hospice is stepping up his care to everyday.

Sam had an old couch that she basically lived on for the last years, and it's worn out. Lou wants it gone- seeing it is a constant reminder of his loss. I called the boro, and amazingly all we have to do is put it out at the curb on trash day. So Ralph and Dan will do that tonight.

We went to sleep at 8 tonight, we were so wiped out. Ralph is still sleeping, and I'm about ready to go back to bed. I'm hoping Lou will sleep tonight. I have another list of things to do tomorrow.

Sam loved Halloween, and she passed on Mischief Night day- how funny is that!

I have no regrets, no "if only's". I'm happy she had the passing she wanted- going to sleep and not waking up. I promised I'd never lie to her, and that I'd take care of Lou. And I'm starting to ramble, which means it's time to go back to bed.

Holly

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rest in Peace, Sam

Today one of my best friend died, after fighting the good fight against breast cancer for over ten years. It wasn't unexpected- she's been under Hospice care since March. She's had medical issues that required everyday care, which I was able to help with. She's been getting weaker by the week. None of us had expected her to live til her 59th birthday this past June, and we were all, including her, shocked that she got thru the summer.

She was tired. Tired of laying on the couch waiting to die. Tired of laying watching Frasier reruns for half the night, and squabbling with her husband over stupid issues. Tired of the parade of people coming thru her house- nurses, home health aids, physicians, social workers.

No matter how prepared you think you are for that phone call, it still catches you totally by surprised. LifeLine called to say that Lou had called them and they dispatched the paramedics. Luckily Ralph was home to go with me. I put on shoes and went out in my pajamas.

It's been a long exhausting day for all involved.
Rest in Peace, Sister of My Heart.

Holly

Thursday, October 20, 2011

65 Days til Christmas!

Ack- this year is just flying by! Steph, Heather, Julianna and I went to Lancaster for the weekend last week, to start our holiday shopping. We did a lot of shopping, but not much was for the holiday! It was a beautiful fall weekend, and half the world was in Lancaster. Kitchen Kettle Village was jammed! We bought a lot of stuff in the jam and jelly kitchen- so much that we borrowed a wagon to tote it to the car. We had my Caravan, with the final row of seats out.

Then it was off to the Mt. Hope Winery, right down the road from Kitchen Kettle. If you bought a case or more of wine, it was 25% off! We couldn't turn that down. Between the three of us, we bought well over a case, and we tasted their holiday wine.

We stopped to secure a hotel room, then off to the outlets. We shopped and shopped (Julianna and I spent part of the time on benches or in the car), took a break for dinner, and shopped some more. The stores closed at 9 p.m., and Heather and Steph shopped til then.

The hotel was OK. They called the beds queen, but I'd call them fulls, and the mattresses were too soft. But the price included a continental breakfast, which we figure saved us at least $20 and an hour. We shopped til about 12.30, then headed home. Heather did all the driving this trip, and she did a great job.

We got home, unloaded, relaxed for a little bit, then headed to Sharon's for Justin's 6th birthday party. It was nice to get together with the family. It was a school night for all the kids, so the party broke up early.

Yesterday was a district inservice day at work- the kids were off. We had universal precautions, right to know, and CPR recert. CPR guidelines have changed- ABC is now CAB. The method of teaching and testing has changed, for the better. Much easier on the knees.

The grand dogs are here, while Steph and Dan take a long weekend in Western Pennsylvania. The dogs are always restless the first night, then they settle down. Toast is in bed with Ralph, and Whiskey is sitting on the ottoman watching me.

Yesterday was icky and rainy, but today was sunny and fall-like. The leaves are turning, and the temps are in the 60's. Two more weekends and the time changes.

And tomorrow is Friday!
Holly

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday again

Manda has moved her blog. The new blog is at www.meadow-lands.blogspot.com She's recently posted her Cozumel cruise pics.

We had a nice day yesterday. Carol is chairman of the Salem County something, and they were having a fundraiser at the Riverview Inn, which is right on the Delaware Bay. It was a very good turkey dinner, and we got to visit with Carol and her son Joe. Some people had paid and not come, and their dinners were boxed up, and we got to bring home dinners for my Mom, Sam and Lou. It was a nice change for them.

I was supposed to go to a baby shower today for Roseanne's DIL Mary, in Wildwood, at the home of Mary's sister. Yesterday Mary's BIL collapsed, needed CPR, and was airlifted to Philly. Needless the say, the shower was postponed, and we're all sending positive thoughts his way.

I talked to John this morning, and it's been raining in Florida for the last few days. He said they really need it. We caught up on all the family news.

Speaking of family news, my nephew David is now engaged to Juliet! They've been going together for a few years, and we all like her, so everyone is happy with the news. She will be niece #3 for me. I used to refer to Sharon as my favorite niece, but then Kevin and Naureen got married, so I had two favorite nieces. Now it will be three favorite nieces. I have 7 nephews, and they're all my favorites.

We're off tomorrow for Columbus Day. A three day weekend is always appreciated! I think the staff gets more excited than the kids.

The leaves are just starting to turn colors, and a lot of them have already fallen. We're getting nights that are downright chilly! Time to start thinking about Christmas shopping!

And the beat goes on!
Holly

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October!

Leave it to Miss Millie to find a new place to cuddle. The blankets had been used to pad the table when it was being moved.
Our new kitchen set! It had been Heather and Ed's, and when they replaced it with the dining room set from Mom Florence's townhouse, we got their set. My other table was 28 years old, bought with income tax money the year Steph was born, so I guess it was ready to be repurposed. The old one is now Ralph's work table in his computer shop in the basement.
I've always liked this set. It's got almost a peachy tint to the wood. And the top is tiles. Just really nice. And it's sturdy as anything, and weighs a ton!
And it's got a cool design on the tiles border. It really doesn't take much to make me happy!

We watched the kids Thursday night, for the time between Heather leaving for work and Ed getting home. The kids make me laugh. Eddie offered to sleep in his school clothes to save time in the morning. They were so good, as they always are. I think Julie has grown 2 inches in the last month! She's going to be tall, as is Eddie.

October! Jean's birthday is today, and Mom Florence's is Monday. Charlotte's in the 11th, and Justin is the 24th. We have a long weekend coming up for Columbus Day, which is always nice.

Tomorrow Steph and Dan and friends are going to the Ren Faire, so we're dog sitting. Steph is going to drive my minivan, and leave me her car. Frank and Charlotte and Ralph and I are taking Mom Florence to dinner for her birthday.

Manda and Ben are in Cozumel today, on the cruise for their friend Dave's wedding. It's a short cruise, Thursday til Monday. I'm totally jealous.

It's been getting deliciously cool at night, wonderful to sleep with the windows open and snuggled under a quilt.

I read 16 books in September, 14 from the library and 2 of mine. That bring the yearly total to 104 books, 39 of mine. They were all mysteries or romantic suspense, and all good.

I'm almost done another scrappy afghan, using the bits and pieces left over from other projects. I can't believe I have so much yarn stockpiled- it was enough to last an ice age! I've got it down to 2 totes and a clothes basket.

My work computer isn't working- I talked to technology, and it seems like the moniter and the tower aren't getting along, so they have to come out and fix it. There's so little I can do without the computer.

Amazon announced they are releasing a 7 inch table called the Kindle Fire in mid-November. I was seriously considering an iPad, but that would cost a fortune and require another data package. The Fire is much cheaper, and I can get amazon prime for a yearly fee, and get 2 day shipping and stream video thru the Fire. So I've pre-oredered, and it should come the last week in November. I love my Nook, and would never get rid of it, and will continue to use it for my e-reader, and use the Fire as a tablet.

And the beat goes on!
Holly

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Somedays I hate the computer

Or parts of it anyway. Ralph installed this eye-fi program that downloads pix when the camera is near the computer. Fine, but I can't then find the pix. And when I then download them to easy share, I can't transfer them to my documents and then to the blog, til he gets home and does something. That's the long version of why there are no pix lately.

September is always hard for me, trying to get back into the work groove. I end up coming home and napping a lot of days, because I'm so tired from getting up early for work.

We had a nice day yesterday. It was the party for Eddie's birthday at Heather and Ed's house. My mom actually surprised me and went! There are two steps up onto Heather's porch, and mom got up the first, and decided she couldn't make it. Ralph, who is so patient, helped her up the other.

It was nice visiting with Heather, Sharon, Steph, Donna, Charlotte and Jeanne- we had a long conversation about cruises that makes me want to sign up for one. Frank is a cruiser, but Ralph won't even consider it, and Mike will only cruise in his yellow car. Some valium may be in order for the two of them.

There is a flock of 15 turkeys that live and roost in their yard and in the woods beyond, and the turkeys and ducks were fun to watch. The kids were all running around and having a great time, except for the mosquitoes that are so bad in jersey this year.

We had meatball sandwiches, a sandwich tray, salads, and cupcakes. When we left, I took meatball sandwiches and cupcakes for Sam and Lou, and mom took sandwiches.

I just finished "A sheetcake named desire" by Jacklyn Brady. It was a mystery set in and around a bakery in New Orleans, and is the first in a new series. I'm almost done another afghan, another scrappy granny stripe. This one will be huge.

I got new glasses, and they're making me crazy. I think the bifocals are set wrong, and I have to call the eye doc. My eyes water and hurt when I put them on, which is not good.

Tomorrow is Back to School night, which means we have to go back to work from 5-7. Since I leave work at 3.15, and get home 4-ish, it means it's not worthwhile to come home. I'll go do some shopping, and get some dinner, and go back. We were scheduled to be off Friday for Rosh Hashanah, but then someone higher up realized that the holiday is Thursday. Rather than cancel or change it, they added Thursday as another day off. Since I don't think any of the 11,000 kids in the district are Jewish, the whole thing is ridiculous and typical.

I counted out the work days til Barbara and I think we're going to retire, at the end of June, 2015. Right now there are 725 work days, and 170 of this year.

And when Ralph gets home and fixes the stupid picture program, I'll have pix of our new-to-us kitchen table.

Holly

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bucket list

I read Bonnie Hunter's quiltville blog all the time, and I have a couple of her quilting books. Bonnie is a quilter who travels all over the place doing classes for guilds. She recently taught on a quilting cruise to the Caribbean and posted lots of pix on her blog.

I just added quilting cruise to my bucket list, right after knee replacement. I can't do the cruise til after the knee, because I want to be able to walk around. And I can't do the knee til I get the leg muscles in better shape, so that's this year's goal. Of course, I also have to catch up to my wandering mojo before going on a quilting cruise.

And tomorrow is Monday again.

Holly

September 11

Never forget.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Weekend!

A four day work week is finished, and we have 180 work days to go. I just figured it out, I have 735 work days til I can retire! That's four school years, including this year.

I love my new work building! It's small, all one floor, clean, and I have a huge window! The staff is very nice. I go a different way that I used to to get to work, and traffic has not been horrible. I've cleaned the office, and thrown away a lot of junk. I've talked to the administrator about an idea I have, and she's thrilled with it.

The first couple of weeks of school are always hard. I go to bed earlier and earlier, til I get adjusted to being on a schedule again. I haven't even put the serger away- it's still in the case on the kitchen floor.

We added texting to our cell phones. I never thought I'd get into texting, but it's like emailing, only on a small keyboard. Convenient for short messages.

After several days of wonderful weather, it got humid again, and the AC is back on. We've had a lazy day- slept late, went to the diner for breakfast, then home, took a nap, and laid around and read. Ralph was in the basement organizing for a while, then he and Miss Millie settled in the recliner with the TV and the laptop.

Sam and Lou are blessedly stable. Steph and Dan are celebrating the six month anniversary of going out, Manda and Ben are in Nebraska to attend a wedding, and Heather and Ed are settling in to the new house. Eddie and Julianna started school this week, and love it.

Settlement went thru on Mom Florence's townhouse, which is a big burden lifted for Ralph and Frank.

I'm reading the new C.J. Box book, "Back of Beyond". It's not one of his Joe Pickett series, but I'm enjoying it. I haven't been in the sewing room for 2 days! Too tired after being at work all day.
And the beat goes on!
Holly

Friday, September 2, 2011

It's September!

Staff went back to work yesterday. I went to the school I was assigned to, sat in the empty parking lot for a half hour, then called health services, who had to go find someone to track down my school. Who knew they met at the high school the first day? And wouldn't it have been nice if my letter from HR had mentioned that?

Once I got to my new assigned building, I love it. It's one floor, bright, clean, and I have a window! After 21 years working in a school, I finally have a gorgeous window! It's huge- really 3 windows next to each other, and the bottoms open! The staff were happy to see me, and very pleasant.

We're off today, which is ridiculous, but worked out, since we could take Dan and Steph to the airport. They're spending the holiday weekend with Ben and Manda in Houston.

Mom spent 36 hours in the hospital after falling- or oozing, as she called it. The did a bunch of tests, and the CT showed she has a big sinus infection, so they discharged her last night on antibiotics.

We have birthdays in September! Linda G. is the 3rd, Roseanne is the 6th, Barbara and Sharon are the 9th, Mikey is the 13, Pat the 15, Ralph the 22, and Eddie the 23.

In August I read 12 books, bringing the total for the year to 88. Of the 12, 4 were mine, either on the Nook or DTB's, bringing that total to 37 for the year. I had an eye doc appt last week, and have new glasses ordered. I knew the Rx had to be changed.

Next week Julianna starts preschool, mornings, and Eddie starts 3rd grade! Steph and Dan started back to college classes this week.

Tomorrow I have a class to learn how to use my serger, which I'm excited about. After the class, we're invited to Frank and Charlotte's for a barbecue.

I'm still crocheting, tho I did a little sewing- I hemmed 2 pair of pants for Steph.

The dogs are here for the holiday weekend. Toast had her tenth birthday yesterday! They're both curled up next to me. Sam and Lou are both stable.

And the beat goes on!
Holly

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's deja vu all over again

The phone rang at 0700 this morning. It was my mom- she'd fallen and was on the floor. We went up, and helped her to stand- she has bad arthritis and can't get up from the floor by herself. She'd gotten lightheaded and oozed down to the floor. No loss of consciousness, no fainting.

She refused 911 because that costs money. She was able to use the walker and get to the car with assistance. We took her to the ER, knowing that a person of her age, with her history, would be admitted. Chest xray, EKG (back in afib), labs, CT were done. CT showed a big sinus infection, which may have caused the lightheadedness.

She's being admitted for observation. There is a new unit, for the elderly who are mentally competent and she'll be there overnight at least.

So today is the last day of August! My nephew Kevin and his wife Naureen are celebrating their anniversary, and my cousin Denise has a birthday that she's celebrating in Disney World.

And tomorrow staff starts back to school. I hate the first day in a new building!

And the beat goes on!
Holly

Sunday, August 28, 2011

After the storm

It's a beautiful day- the sky is blue, fluffy white clouds in places, a nice breeze, temp in the upper 60's- just gorgeous!

Ralph has to fix the leak in the laundry room and the one around the skylight, but other than that, we were very lucky.

This morning I spent a half hour sitting at the kitchen table watching 3 hummingbirds fight over the feeder hanging from the porch. When Ralph was in the kitchen later, there were a dozen! So we just stopped over Mom's to borrow 4 more feeders for them. Apparently they don't play well with others.

This is my last couple of days before going back to work. Staff goes in Thursday, then has a four day weekend, which is ridiculous. I have to go find the school that I'm now assigned to- I'll do that tomorrow or Tuesday.

And the beat goes on!
Holly

We made it through Irene!

We're in a lull now, before the last band of rain comes. The power flickered once, and the skylight leaked.

It rained and rained and rained! The winds picked up in the middle of the night. We were lucky- we're on a hill, and the water goes by us and our basement stays dry.

We were up and down all night, checking outside, checking the computer for weather, checking facebook to see who else was up.

Irene is now hitting NY, and NYC. The news is showing scenes from Long Beach, NY, which is a mess.

I'm glad Irene is almost past.
Holly

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Irene is arriving!

The rain has started. It started as a drizzle, and it's coming down pretty good now. We've ordered a final pizza before the big storm, and we're waiting for it to arrive.

I'm no fan of our Governor. I actively dislike the man. But he said two things that make me laugh. He saw tourists on the news that were still at the beach yesterday, and told them to "Get the hell off the beach" and evacuate. Then he addressed anyone who refused the mandatory evacuation, and told them to put an index card in their shoe with their name and social security number on it, so we can identify the body.

The worst of Irene is to arrive late tonight. Rumors are flying that the electric company is going to shut off everyone's electric at 10 p.m, even tho the electric company has denied that. I'm not sure it would even be possible on their part. I'm hoping that our power stays on- call me optimistic.

Updates to follow, as long as we have power!
Holly


Thursday, August 25, 2011

More scariness ahead

The hurricane is making it's way up the East Coast. It look like we're right in the projected path. I'm so glad Ralph is retired, and we don't have to worry about him being able to get to work, or to get home.

I've been to the grocery store, and we're good for several days. Hopefully the power will remain on! We've got plenty of cat food, and the cell phones, Nook and Kindle are charged. Mom has enough meds and food and library books. I took Sam to the grocery store 2 days ago, and Florence can just stay inside the assisted living. Steph is working from home tomorrow. Heather is off after tonight, and Ed has an on call list.

It's thundering off in the distance, and I don't remember if hurricane's have thunder and lightening with them.

I used to be brave, now I'm not. I want Ralph here for hurricane's and blizzards. The years of him going to work and getting stuck there for days are thankfully over.

And the beat goes on.
Holly

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Well that was scary!

I was sitting at the kitchen table and the entire house started to shake! My first thought was that I was having a stroke! But the house continued to shake, and I yelled to Ralph, who said he thought we were having an earthquake.

An earthquake?! In New Jersey?

Yes, it turned out to be a 6.0 earthquake with the epicenter in Virginia. If it shook our house, it must have really be scary 200 miles away! I think everyone on the East Coast immediately got on Facebook!

Office buildings were evacuated, flights grounded, cell service overwhelmed.

And the cat never stirred. Either did the one sleeping on the deck.

And we have the weekend to look forward to, when we could get hit with part of the hurricane!

Wow.
Holly

Monday, August 22, 2011

124 days!

124 days til Christmas! A little over four months! So the year is almost 2/3 over! I'm starting to think about what to get everyone for Christmas gifts. Ben and Manda found some things they want in a Nebraska Red catalog while they were up. In another month I'll ask the rest of the kids and kids-in-law to start thinking about what they want.

Another important number is four. That's how many years I have to work in order to retire with a decent pension and social security. A friend and I are saying "Four more and out the door." In reality, I'll reassess at that time and decide if I want to work longer. To get full social security, I'd have to work 7 more years, or not start collecting immediately. Decisions that I don't have to make at the present time.

And then there's the number 185, which is the number of days the staff works in a school year. We go back on Sept 1, then have a four day Labor Day weekend, then staff works the 6th, and kids come in on Sept 7. It's ridiculous- staff could work Sept 1 and 2, and the kids come in on the 6th. These calenders are not set for the benefit of the ten month staff or for the kids.

Another important number is 8, which is how old Eddie will be next month! He's going into grade 3, and is absolutely adorable, a handsome young man. That number is also the number of years that I've been quilting, since I started while Heather and Ed were expecting Eddie.

Totally unrelated, tonight my brother Mike and I went to a viewing for one of mom's neighbors. Tony lived across the street from my parents since I was in about first grade. He was always a good neighbor, and since my dad died, Tony watched out for Mom, and took her trash cans in every week. He was a semi retired mechanic and auto repair shop owner. Last week he went to work, did a brake job, and came home and basically dropped dead of a massive heart attack. How funny that he and dad both died so suddenly.

I just made a list of the things I have to do before returning to work next week. Tomorrow my car goes to the auto repair shop here in town to have the oil changed and a checkup. That's number one on my priority list.

Manda and Ben are back in Houston, and we're getting back into our routine here. Next week Steph and Dan start back to college classes. Heather and Ed are settling into their jobs. Eddie goes to grade 3, and Julianna starts morning preschool. Every day she asks Heather if it's September yet.

Next week is settlement on Florence's townhouse, so that will be one less thing Ralph is dealing with.

And the beat goes on!
Holly

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Those were the days

It's been a wonderful 3 1/2 days! Manda and Ben's flight from Houston was delayed, as it frequently is, and they arrived in Philly a little before midnight Thursday night. When they walked in the door at 12.30 a.m. Friday, courtesy of Steph and Dan, I had chicken croquettes and twice baked potatoes waiting for them. We visited until entirely too late.

Friday morning Steph picked up the rolls and the cake for me. Ralph and Steph took Manda and Ben off to explore the Amish market while I got the food going for the summer birthday party. Late afternoon, we had a bet going as to whether my mom would actually come, since it was sporadically raining. She did, which was great. Frank and Charlotte picked up Mom Florence and Charlotte's mom Doris. Heather and Ed and the kids, Sharon and Jim and their kids, Bob and Kelly and Katie were here, and Franny and Jake stopped in for a while. Manda and Steph's friends Kate and Tim were here, and Kevin and Naureen and Nadia came after they went to dinner with Tori for her birthday. We all sang Happy Birthday to all the summer babies.

Saturday after breakfast we went down to see Heather and Ed's new house, and play with the kids. Eddie is growing like a weed, and I can't believe he'll be 8 next month! Then we went to dinner, and to Steph's apartment, to see the puppies. We left Ben and Manda there, and they went out for ice cream with Steph and Dan.

When they all came back to our house, I took advantage of the free young muscle! I had a lot of furniture that I wanted re-arranged, and Ben and Dan were nice enough to do it.

This morning Ralph went off to church with his mom, and I went to a buffet brunch with the kids. It was very nice, and we lingered as long as we could, but Ben and Manda really had to get to the airport. Once their flight was boarded, a wing flap issue was discovered, and they were unboarded and had to wait two hours for a different plane. They hopefully got in the air before the bad weather hit- it's about ready to pour and storm. We had rain a couple of the nights they were here, and they were able to open windows and fall asleep to the sound of rain.

I managed to not cry when they drove away. It's taken me literally years to be able to not cry when they leave! We know we'll see them again in four months, at Christmas.

Stephanie was such a huge help while they were here! She and Dan picked up the travelers Thursday night, and she took off Friday to spend time with them and drive them to the Amish market. She also picked up the cake and rolls for me Friday morning, and stopped during a monsoon Friday night to get the beer for the party. Saturday night she and Dan took Manda and Ben shopping, and today drove them to the airport. Living the closest to us, she's my go to girl, and I don't know what I'd do without her!

It's now 4.45, and the flight has been delayed first for paperwork, and now by the weather. I feel so bad for them!

And the beat goes on!

Holly

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Getting ready for company

Manda and Ben arrive tomorrow night around 11. I've promised them chicken croquettes and twice baked potatoes from the Amish market when they get here. Oddly enough, they don't have chicken croquettes in either Nebraska or Houston.

My house cleaner did her thing on Sunday morning, which was great. Ralph has taken almost everything off the dining room table, and will finish in the morning. Julio has moved from the dining room to Ralph's truck, and I've insisted that the chain saw be taken from the dining room floor and relocated to the basement.

Even though he was terrified, Ralph had his colonoscopy and doesn't have to have another for 6 years. I really pushed for it- I told him if he died of something preventable, I'd be really mad at him.

The yard sale went OK. Everything not sold was taken to Goodwill. We're all glad that it's over with. The heater wasn't working right at Florence's house, so the repair guy was out today and replaced the igniter.

I turned off the AC on one of the rainy days, and it wouldn't go back on. We had the HVAC guy out, and it was some kind of circuit breaker out on the compressor- a kind of inexpensive fix. While Danny was fixing it, he replaced some bad wiring on the compressor.

After fooling around with a dying fridge for two weeks, Mom wanted to go to Sears Scratch and Dent in the rain on Monday. We drove all the way up there, she trudged with her walker to the back of the store, picked out a fridge- plain white, freezer on the top- then found out that there would be a $70 delivery fee, as well as $10 to haul off the old one!

She finally agreed to let me go to Lowe's and order her a fridge, which I offered to do two weeks ago. It was delivered yesterday.

I got my letter from the Board of Education, so I know what school I'll be in as of Septempber 1. It's in a Good Will store. Special needs high school students attend classes a half day, and learn to do a job the other half.

I'm off to get some sleep.
Holly

Friday, August 12, 2011

Yard Sale Day

Since it's after midnight (barely) the yard sale is today. There's a garage full of stuff waiting to go to a new home, one way or the other. If it isn't bought, it goes to Goodwill.

It's kind of sad, to have the house sold and belongings dismantled. Florence took what she wanted to go to the assisted living with her. Charlotte and I took a few things, and the grandchildren took what they could use. The rest will be sold or donated.

We all found items that we'd given Florence over the years. Some of the items had obviously never been used, which is sad. None of us just buy any old thing, we try to tailor the gift to the person, and it's disappointing to see the items still in the original boxes, just put away.

Behind the china closet we found a certificate from when Frank Lopez, Sr, served a term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. That went to Kevin, the oldest great-grandchild of Frank and Susie Lopez. There was so stemware of Susie's. Some of it went to great-grandchildren, some will be put away to great-great-grandchildren.

As hard as it is to let go of treasures, Florence seems to be happy that many of them are going to her family. Some things she just couldn't let go of- her cheesecake pan and pizzelle iron are being stored by Charlotte for her.

I'll be relieved when settlement happens. Ralph has put in so many hours getting the house ready to sell, and even more hours keeping up with Florence's paperwork. The amount of paperwork will decrease a lot when there is no longer house bills. Frank has been a huge help, but he is still employed, and his employer kind of expects him to be at work.

This week I am reclaiming the dining room! The table has been buried in Florence's papers for 6 months now, and it's got to go. As soon as the yard sale is over, Ralph promises to relocate it to his office.

This morning we finally got to take Sam and Lou to the latest Harry Potter movie. I hadn't seen any of the previous ones, but I had an idea who the characters were. They both enjoyed the movie, but were exhausted when we came out.

And now I'm off to get some sleep!

Holly

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rain!

Ralph and I met Charlotte at Mom Florence's townhouse to start getting ready for Saturday's yardsale. So much stuff to price! Charlotte bought price stickers, and worked her way thru. Ralph was moving things around in the garage, and throwing away unusable things. Heather and Ed came up with the truck and a trailer and took the dining room set, the computer desk, and some odds and ends.
There's a lot of "stuff" to go in the yard sale, but few big ticket items. I doubt that a lot of money will come in, but hope a lot of the stuff goes out. Settlement is in 2 weeks, so everything has to be gone by then.
While Ed and Ralph were loading the trailer, it started to thunder and rain. They just got everything covered in plastic when the rain got heavy. We stopped for gas and a quick lunch, then went to their new house, which is very close to their previous NJ house. Florence's dining room set looks great there. They have a great covered front porch, and a back deck that's partially covered. A two car garage is wonderful, and the back yard is a decent size, and backs up onto woods.
They hope to sleep in the new house tomorrow night. Eddie and Julie are happy with their rooms, and with the yard. We sat on the front porch and watched the rain for a while.
So it's been a busy day for all! At least the rain dropped the temp and the humidity, at least for a little while.

Holly

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August Already!

It's already starting to get dark a little earlier, and light a little later. It's still brutally hot, and looking outside it looks like we may get another thunderstorm.

Summer break is nice, but it seems the less I have to do, the less I do. I've been keeping a daily log of what I get done, and it's mostly laundry, food shop, go to Sam and Lou's, read, and crochet. My quilting mojo hasn't returned from wherever it's been hiding for the last year. I just finished yet another double crocheted scrappy afghan. I still have two totes and a clothesbasket full of yarn! What was I thinking when I bought it all? (The same thing I was thinking, or not thinking, when I bought all the fabric that I'll have to live to be 122 to use!)

I finished going thru and alphabetizing my paperbacks. There's about 600 or so, and that's after getting rid of two totes and a bag! Steph is going to put a lot of them up on a paperback swap site that she uses. I was able to free up a bookcase, which Steph and Dan may be able to use.

I've got some rearranging of furniture planned. In the family room we have a recliner which is comfy, and a couch that isn't. So my plan is to remove the extra bookcase from the bedroom, and put my small desk there, which frees up a wall in the dining room. The couch can be moved there, and the other chair brought into the family room. Since I know I have no decorating sense, I consulted with Steph, who thinks it will work.

This month is Ben's birthday. He and Manda will be home on the 18th thru the 21st, so we're having a party, of course. We'll have the usual party food, and a cake for all the summer birthdays- Steph, Dan, Manda, and Ben.

We haven't seen them since last Thanksgiving! They visited Heather and Ed in January, and met Steph and Dan in New Orleans in June, but we haven't seen them, so I'm excited for their visit. And we have to compare everyone's schedules to decide when we're doing Christmas. With hospital nurses- only Heather, now- we rarely do Christmas on December 25.

Julianna is enrolled in morning preschool, and Eddie will be going into 3rd grade! How can that be! He'll be 8 in September!

Board of Education minutes are up, and no staff assignments have been made yet, so I still don't know where I'll be in September. If I didn't have so much else going on, I'd be totally stressed over it. I'm #14 in seniority of 40+, so I'll have a job, I just don't know in which school.

And the beat goes on!
Holly

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hot, hot, hot!

Even with the AC and fan on, it's hot! Too hot to be outside, which is why I'm not. I've been sorting books all morning, and putting them in alphabetical order by author. I've probably got about a thousand paperbacks that I haven't read. Once I read them I pass them along. Since I got the Nook I rarely buy real books. And I can never find what I'm looking for, so I'm putting them in order. I got A-F done, and I'm taking a lunch/computer break.

After we went to Sam's last night, we got salads from Saladworks, and I'm eating leftovers. I doctored it up with strawberries and blueberries, and raspberry vinegerette, which is my new favorite.

In July I read 15 books, of which 9 were mine and 6 were library books. That brings the total to 76 for the year so far. I'm working on a greens granny stripe afghan, and a scrappy double crochet afghan using up scraps of yarn. I also cleaned off the table in the laundry room, which is sort of like a closet. I haven't put any flimsies up on the HQ16- I just haven't felt like it. Summer break is about halfway over.

The new fridge is working very nice, and the dishwasher pipes are holding up well. The AC has been working fine- knock on wood- since the day it had to be reset. Mom Florence's townhouse is listed with a Realtor- paying taxes on an empty house is just not good economic sense, and she needs the money for the assisted living fees.

Ed and Heather are looking at houses in Mays Landing. They want to be settled before Eddie goes into 3rd grade (how can that be?) and Julianna starts pre-school. Manda and Ben are coming home for a long weekend in a couple of weeks. We'll have the family and friends over, and have a birthday cake for the summer birthdays- Steph, Dan, Manda, and Ben. We haven't seen Manda and Ben since Thanksgiving week last year! They've been doing a lot of travel this year- it's the time to do it, before a mortgage and kiddies. Steph is enjoying the break from classes, and Dan is taking an on-line class. All six of them are busy, busy! Good thing I have Facebook, so I can keep track of them all!

Tomorrow is house cleaning day! I love it when someone else cleans!

And the beat goes on!
Holly

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ridiculous, Part Two

Our fridge died. Last week, the freezer motor got real noisy. Last night Ralph went to get something and the ice cream was half melted. We moved the savable frozen food to the freestanding freezer, and put the fridge stuff in an ice chest. This morning the freezer was cold, but the fridge was 60.

So off to Lowe's we went. We hit the last day of a 10% off sale, and the fridge we picked comes with a free ice maker kit. Free delivery tomorrow, and they remove the dead fridge. We're getting another white, freezer on the top model. I just don't care for the whole stainless steel look.

Here's the most annoying part: Several years ago we found the receipt for our fridge, and realized it was 18 years old. We decided to be proactive and replace it before it broke down. That was maybe 6 or 7 years ago. My brother Mike took the old fridge for his garage to keep beer and soda in, knowing that its days could be numbered. Of curse that fridge is still running well!

So now within 2 weeks we've had to replace the pipes under the kitchen sink, and the fridge. What a pain!

At least it's cooler today, only low 80's so far, and very humid.

Holly

Sunday, July 24, 2011

This is just ridiculous!

It's been in the vicinity of 100 out every day this week. The AC runs constantly, and I don't even want to know what my electric bill will be. We have it set at 78, which feels wonderful when coming from outside.

We picked up Mom from rehab on Thursday. The social worker said be there between 10 and 11. Fine, but the nurse wasn't ready with paperwork til almost 11, and we got there at 10.05. I wasn't thrilled with the rehab, which is part of the Kennedy system. First off, Mom's mattress was lower on one side, by over an inch, and she kept feeling like she'd roll off. We told the nurse on Saturday, and she said she'd call maint. Told an aide on Tuesday, who insisted no one would fix or replace it. Told a nurse on Tuesday, who said she'd call maint. Finally on Thursday I called the nurse mgr, who had it replaced that day.

There was a storm, and their satellite TV went out for an hour or so, and MSNBC, Mom's favorite channel, lost it's sound. Again, told everyone and their uncle. One nurse checked the other rooms, and they were fine. The TV was never fixed or replaced.

The food was consistently wrong. She'd order her meal, and it was always an adventure to see if she got anything resembling her order. Heather actually had to take her tea bags and sweet and low, because dietary managed to get her hot water, and most of the time forgot the tea bag.

She had so much trouble getting her tylenol before PT, that I actually left her some tylenol there. She had some good PT's, and she says some were downright nasty. OT was ridiculous- Mom crochets every day, and her issue was not her hands, so why did they have her playing with silly putty and tinkertoys? Rhetorical question- so they could bill medicare of course.

So how do you know when you've had enough rehab? When the insurance money won't pay any more, of course.

Hospice is another institution that's getting on my last nerve. Sam's hospice nurse is a very low key, kind person named Pam. Sam has to be "tapped" for ascites every day, and it requires a set up which included a liter suction bottle, tubing, and dressings. The bottles come in boxes of 10. From looking them up on amazon (what did we ever do before amazon?) we know the bottles cost $90 each, which is highway robbery. When Sam gets to less than 3 bottles, she gets very anxious. It's an easy fix, make sure her supply is kept up. It usually takes a phone call to Pam to get the bottles sent. Sam likes to be tapped at night, so she can sleep. I go down almost every night around 7 or 8 to assist her, and if I'm not available, the on call hospice nurse comes out (and of course bills her insurance).

This week Vitas sent someone new out with a new type of bottle. Instead of suction, it has a bulb that you squeeze once and then gravity takes over. I went down, looked at it, and there was no dressing to put on afterwards, so I called Vitas for directions. They sent out the on call nurse, Julie. Julie is kind of snarky, and funny, and Sam and Lou love her. She couldn't believe they sent out that kind of set up, first of all. She said it would take hours to drain Sam by gravity. And the connections didn't match. Again, it comes down to money- this setup is way cheaper than the suction bottles. Luckily Julie had a bottle in her car, and used that. So the cheaper set up got trashed, and they had to pay the on call nurse to come out, and they had to send another person out with more bottles the next day.

Yesterday Franny, Ralph and I went to Pennsville to the Riverview Inn, which is right on Delaware Bay. We met Carol and Kamee there, for the second annual lauau to benefit the Pennsville Library. It was two hours of music, appetitzers, and door prizes, and a chance to get together. We had a nice time, and contributed to the library.

So another rant- why on earth do library funds get cut? Anyone with half a brain wants kids to read- readers are smarter than non readers, and to be a success in almost anything you have to read. In addition to books, libraries allow computer access to people who can't afford a home computer, and librarians are the smartest and most helpful people in the world! A lot of libraries even lend ebooks electronically.

This has turned out to be a post of rants, but I'll get off my soapbox now. I have to do some fun things like put the laundry away and clean out the fridge. Then I'm going to sit down and finish my book- Obsidian Prey, by Jayne Castle. Another Harmony book. The dust bunny in this one is named Vincent.

Stay cool!
Holly

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

157 days til Christmas!

I only know because of the counter I have on the blog. With the weather being in the 90's every day, Christmas is about the last thing on my mind.

The ramp is totally done, and Mom comes home from rehab tomorrow. She's been either in the hospital or rehab since June 8th! Being a patient gets old real fast, as I know from experience.

Being sick gets old real fast also. Sam is totally sick of being sick. She and Lou are together 24/7. They have the distraction of the dog, hospice nurses, and home health aids, but that's all. We plan to take the to see the final Harry Potter movie, but it's just too hot this week for them to be outside even for that short time. We're hoping for early next week.

Tonight was dinner with the nurses night. Mom Florence's senior meeting got cancelled due to the weather, so Ralph was able to join us. It was the first we've see Jean since her brain surgery for a benign tumor. She looks wonderful! She's hoping to be able to drive by the next dinner.

The week was house cleaning week! It's so great to have someone else clean the kitchen, both bathrooms, dust, and vacuum the entire house. Last weekend the dishwasher backed up, and when Ralph started touching pipes, they crumbled. $200 in parts later, we have a new faucet and a bunch of pipes. Then Monday afternoon it got really warm in here. When Ralph investigated, he had to turn the AC off and back on, and thank goodness it went on and has been behaving- knock on wood. The unit is almost 20 years old, so we decided that as soon as I get back to work and get a couple of pays, we'll replace it.

My brother John is coming up from Florida next week to visit Mom. Her being in the hospital and rehab scared him more than it did us. It's hard to be 1000 miles away.

I'm reading a cool set of books by Jayne Castle, about the planet Harmony. 200 years ago, a curtain lifted which allowed humans to colonize Harmony. Then the curtain closed, stranding them, and Earth technology soon became useless. Humans had to fight to rebuild their own civilization, and were aided by psychic energy. My favorite are the little creatures called dust bunnies. They have blue eyes, and a second set of eyes for hunting. They have six legs, and love pretzels. They're more companions than pets, and are predators. The old saying goes, by the time you see the teeth, it's too late.

And the beat goes on!
Holly

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Loving

Yesterday we went to Jay and Christine's wedding. They had a beautiful day, temp in the 80's, skies blue and clear. The wedding was at 2 p.m. Steph was a groomswoman.
Kate was also a groomswoman. One of the bridesmaids told me that they started out calling Kate and Steph female ushers, which morphed into flushers. Steph, Kate and Jay have been best friends since high school. They frequently went on ski trips together, and spent a lot of time together.
Dan was there as Steph's escort. They started taking dancing lessons at the library.
Christine's Dad is in a wheelchair, so he waited at the alter and her brother escorted her down the aisle.
Jay and Christine make a beautiful couple!
Christine has 3 sisters. She and one sister are nurses, and her sister worked with Ralph in the ER. Small world!
The week before, we went to MacKenzie's 4th, and Connor's 9th birthday parties. Kenzie loves Toy Story, and Sharon made the cake for her.
Get some little girls together, and of course they play dressup! Kenzie is in the middle, and Julianna is on the right.
Our sweet little princess!
Mom's ramp is in, and almost done. A new door was put out the back of the porch. There's a big landing at the top.
Another landing near the bottom, and the ramp turns.
Looking out the new back door. The ramp is solid, and meets ADA standards. It's a gentle slope, for a wheelchair or her walker. There will be a round railing to grip over the flat railing.
The landings are nice and wide, and solid. Mom is due to be discharged on Thursday so she can come home and try it out.

Our dishwasher backed up into the sink yesterday. Ick. So Ralph started checking, and pipes starting crumbling. At the moment, the sink is on the floor, because of course it happened right before we had to leave to go to the wedding. He's at church with Mom Florence, and will get started fixing and replacing when he gets home. New drain, new faucets, and who knows what else. All the pipes are at least 20 years old, and don't last forever.

Ben interviewed for a job in Seattle. Seattle- can they get any further away? They'd be 3 time zones away from us, and a more expensive and longer plane ride. But as Steph says, Seattle is much cooler than Houston. And they have to be where the work is. It just seems so far away.

Heather and Ed are both settling into their new jobs, and very happy. The kids are loving staying at the O'Flynn grandparents. They have a pool, and cousins that visit frequently.

Steph is now working from home a couple of days a week, which the dogs love. Dan is taking a summer class, but it's online so he doesn't have to go to the school. They learned to waltz at this week's dancing lesson at the library.

I actually bought some fabric! There's a line called "Hoo's in the Forest" which is adorable. I bought the charm pack, jelly roll, and layer cake packs of it. Steph loves owls, so I'll make something for her- I've been looking at quilt patterns.

The wedding had a fountain of Malibu Bay Breezes. Rum, pineapple juice and a hint of coconut. They were so good! I only had one, and they must have been weak, since I didn't get a buzz, which is fine. I'd never tasted them before.

I just finished the new Jan Burke book, Disturbance. She writes a series about Irene Kelly, journalist. This was a kind of followup to the book Bones, which was really scary. This book was very intense, and really good.

I've gotten hooked on reruns of Frasier. It's all Sam's fault- the nights I stayed there, we saw a couple of episodes. Frasier was a spinoff of Cheers, and takes place in Seattle- is that an omen? Most of the new comedies I don't find funny, but Frasier makes me laugh.

I'm still crocheting up a storm. Mindless, and uses up yarn. Sam and Lou are both stable, but declining. I see them almost every day.

It's another beautiful day, with a blue sky. It's supposed to get wickedly hot again this week.
And the beat goes on!
Holly

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 7

Today is my baby's birthday! Stephanie Susan is 28 today. One of the birthday parties for Julianna and Grandmom was on St. Patrick's Day, so Steph, Heather and Julianna got into the Irish spirit!
Steph loves being an Aunt to Julianna and Eddie. It was hard on everyone when Heather, Ed, Eddie and Julianna moved to NC, but they're back now, and the kids will have more time with all of us.
Two years ago Steph, Manda, my friend Linda and I went on an Alaskan cruise. It was fabulous! Every night Steph would look at the activities list for the following day, and schedule her day. She made the most of every moment. One shore day, when the rest of us rode a tram up a mountain, Steph went on a five mile hike!
This is Whiskey. Steph adopted him from a rescue, and gave Toast a little brother. He just turned 10, and is so full of energy! He's very needy, and when you create a lap, he wants to be on it.
Toast is still the Princess. She'll be 10 in September, and has some back issues.
Last year, Steph held our Christmas with Manda and Ben at her apartment. We celebrated two days after Thanksgiving that year. Due to nurses in the family, Christmas is hardly ever celebrated on December 25. Steph made a wonderful dinner, and we enjoyed being together.
When Manda and Ben got married, Steph was maid of honor. Becca and Heather and Julianna were also in the wedding.
This past Christmas Steph, the dogs, and Ralph and I went to NC.
My girls! What a cute bunch!
Steph and her favorite niece!

We're so proud of Steph. She got her BA in Fire Science from Holy Family University, and is going for her Master's at St. Joseph's University. When she was a teen, I really wanted her to become a country western singer, but she refused to try, just because she inherited the lack of singing talent from us. Not that that ever stopped some of the singers out there! She's found her niche at the company she works for. She graduated with highest honors from Holy Family, and is doing wonderfully at St. Joe's.

Steph was born the day after my brother John's birthday. I really thought she'd share his birthday, but she wanted her own day.

Happy Birthday Steph! We love you!

Holly

Friday, July 1, 2011

It's July!

2011 is officially half over! July is a busy month for us. We have lots of birthdays- Dan is July 3, John is the 6th, Steph is the 7th (my baby will be 28!), Connor will be 8 on the 12th, Kenzi is in there somewhere (I have to write it down), Polly is the 19th, and Nadia is the 29th! Wow!

Jay and Christine get married on the 16th. Steph and Kate are Groomswomen, something I never heard of until recently, but I like the rationale of it. Jay, Steph and Kate have been Best Friends for years, so it makes sense for them to stand up with Jay. Jay and Christine are genuinely good people, and I'm so happy for them to have found each other, and I wish them the absolute best!

I read 7 books in June, bringing the year's total up to 61. Of those, 24 were either my own or my own on the Nook. The rest were from the library. I've gotten to where I prefer to read on the Nook- I can change the letter size anytime, and it's so portable!

I just finished another granny stripe afghan, this one in pastels. The leftovers are being added to the scrappy double crochet afghan- not real pretty, but functional!

Happy July!
Holly

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pictures

These are some of the flimsies that I want to get quilted this summer. Above is Mayhem in Manchester, which was a mystery quilt class at MQX taught by Mark Lipinski. It's not the best pic, as it was so bright out that I couldn't see the icon on the camera.
This is a log cabin, blue and green. I like the way the colors are kind of subtle.
This was a mystery on the Quilteville website with Bonnie Hunter. I started out working with the group as the clues were posted, but got behind real fast. Bonnie used orange where I have blue, and called it Orange Crush. I call mine "I found my thrill on blueberry hill." It has 1800 pieces, and is assembled on the diagonal, which was interesting.
This was a mystery class at Quilted Treasures, taught by Libby. I call it Gingerbread Dreams, because the brown squares are gingerbread, and the large green squares and border are pine. Steph has already claimed it.
I started this for Julianna before she was born! The big squares are all umbrellas, and it's so cute and girly!
This was a class at QT also. I love the round secondary pattern, and it's named "The wheels of the bus go round and round." It needs another border to make it a good queen sized, as does Blueberry Hill.
Our HGTV group made a comfort quilt for Lou, who is ailing. A lot of us made blocks, and because some of the group was off to retreat, others made two blocks.
Here's blueberry hill again. We use a program called eye-fi, which downloads the pix from the camera when you put the camera near the computer and turn on the camera. I hate it, and I'm not going to use it anymore. I download the pix to easyshare, then download the ones I want to use to my documents, where they get a number, and I can find the pix to move them to my blog. Ralph insisted on helping me, and he loaded them on the blog, and I have no idea how he did it. He said my way takes too many steps- but- I can do it myself that way!

The blog is supposed to be fun for me, and if he makes it "easier" but I can't do it, it ain't fun! So I'll keep the camera not close to the computer, and do it the way I know how to.

We went to dinner with Steph and Dan last night at Cheesecake Factory, and we all had enough for lunch. Steph had to get memory for her laptop, because she's going to work from home one day a week. And her cell was acting up, which Verizon fixed by taking out the battery and blowing air into the space.

Sam and I got together with her hospice nurse this morning to discuss the progression of her illness. Pam was able to answer her questions and re-assure her. Lou is pretty stable for the moment.

Mom is doing well in rehab. She gets PT every day, and they're watching the fluid in her legs. Her ramp should go in next week (they said that last week, too). They haven't given her a discharge date yet, and she's sick of the place.

And the beat goes on!
Holly