Monday, January 31, 2011

This is getting old

Tonight it's supposed to start snowing around midnight, and tomorrow they're not sure- could stay as snow, could be that awful wintery mix, or it could warm up and turn into rain- it depends on which way the storm goes.

We had snow days last Thursday and Friday. The side roads were still not good over the weekend. It's a good thing Ralph has the big pickup with 4 wheel drive, or we would really have had a problem.

So it's the last day of January. It's the birthday of my nephew Jim. Tomorrow is his grandmom Doris's birthday. Also in February is my birthday, and my nephew Nick's.

I read 9 books in January. Five were from the library, and four were on the Nook. It seems strange to read a "real" book after reading a few in a row on the Nook.

Talking to Manda and Heather over the weekend, it was 70 in Houston and 60 in NC. Kitten was looking out the window, and the kids were playing outside.

Ralph didn't have to stay with Florence today, so he did lots of errands. He was to the post office, paid our water bill, paid our taxes and took my mom's, and went and paid his mom's taxes. I stopped at Perk's on the way home to food shop, since he would be here to carry the bags in. I also stopped at the library on the way home, to pick up books for my mom. I don't think she's been out of her house since Thanksgiving.

Steph has started her second semester of grad school at St. Joe's! One night a week, and several Saturday's. Best of all, her work is picking up the entire bill! They must agree with me that it's a good investment.

And now off to sleep!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Family Rules

Every family probably has rules of some sort. Here's some of ours:

Joe's Rule of Employment: It's OK to quit a job, as long as you have another job to go to the next day. Big Mike constantly broke that rule- he'd quit a job, pump gas at the gas station down the corner, and someone would come along and offer him a job. Made Joe crazy.

Joe's Rule of Birth Control: Keep your pecker in your pocket. If you can't keep it in your pocket, put a raincoat on it.

Ralph's Rule of Plugs: Never give a woman a gift that has a plug attached, unless she specifically asks for it.

and our newest rule-
Ed's Rule of Toys: If you give a child (especially his) a toy that has more than 50 pieces, be prepared to help the child with the toy. Puzzles are exempt from the rule.

We have snow. Again. My usually 30-40 minute commute to work took me 2 hours this morning! We had a 1 p.m. dismissal, and the ride home was 35 minutes. We're getting more snow tonight, amount to be determined.

Mom Florence spent 24 hours in the hospital, after having blurry vision. All the tests were negative, thankfully.

Speaking of ERs, I was in one Sunday night. I was having intermittent nausea, tingling across my shoulder blades, and it felt like my heart was beating hard. Those things made me anxious, which didn't help, so we went off to the ER. Enzymes, Chest Xray, EKG, all good. One abnormal lab, so off to CT. All were absolutely normal, and by then I felt better, so I was discharged at 4 a.m. Monday. Women present so differently than men with cardiac issues, and the ER doc and nurses told me that I was absolutely right to come in. I've been feeling fine since, and if the ride to work didn't kick in an issue, nothing will!

I've been reading real books from the library. After reading on the Nook for a couple of weeks, it feels weird to hold a heavy book!I'm working my way thru the Jake Lassiter series by Paul Levine. He's an ex-football player, now lawyer, in Miami. It has a nice set of supporting characters, and Jake can't do anything the easy way. I'm enjoying the series.

I finally used up all the soft baby yarn, almost. I have enough left to make a couple of scarves. I started another granny square afghan to use up more of the greens. I also signed up for an ABC swap on the HGTV quilting board. You sign up for a specific letter, so 26 people participate. You sent 27 squares, 6.5 inches square. The extra square is for the hostess. I picked the letter P, because I'd bought some Peace Sign fabric. When all the squares are mailed to the hostess, she swaps them out, and you get back 26 squares, one for each letter. It's fun to see the fabrics that everyone picks out.

And so it goes!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Party!

When we told Miss Millie that we were going out for the day, she wasn't interested- she'd found a nice warm spot, even if it is a strange spot. A strange spot for a strange cat.
Aunt Marie is the older sister of my late father in law. She'll be 90 next month! She thought she was going to her son's 60th birthday party. Surprise, Marie! Ralph and I picked up Mom Florence, Frank and Charlotte, and Stephanie and we went off to NE Philly. Brookside Manor is near where Steph's first apartment was.
The centerpieces were beautiful, and high off the table so they didn't block the view. The food was delicious.
Aunt Marie looks so much like her late mother, Nanny Rose! Uncle Jack died a few years ago. She's with her sons, Jim and John.
Marie and Florence are the matriarchs of the family. This was Mom Florence's first big social outing since her surgery. She was so happy that she was able to go see Marie and her nephews.
Ralph, Frank, Florence, Marie, Jim and John. Stephanie went with us, and she sat at the "kids" table. The kids were John and Jim's children, and they and Steph were trying to figure out what kind of cousins they are. Hmm, their grandmother and Steph's grandfather were siblings, so their father's are cousins, so that makes them- cousins of some sort.
The families never visited much due to some tiff years ago that no one remembers, and was probably something totally trivial. It's become a funeral get together family, so it was delightful to get together for a happy occasion.
John is retiring next year, so he was asking Ralph for tips on how to spend his time. Ralph had a lot of suggestions for him.
Also at our table was Ralph and Frank's cousins Frannie, Gerrie and her husband Joe, and Michael and his wife Debi. It was great to visit with them.

It's 13 degrees out! Sunny, with some breeze. But 13! Is that necessary? I know it's January, but really! When it's this cold Steph has to drag Whiskey out of bed. She takes the dogs out, and as soon as they're back inside he jumps back in bed and doesn't even want to get up to eat. Now that's a dog with sense!

Plan for today- laundry, possible trip to Target, go to my Mom's to swap out library books, and to stay warm! More snow is predicted for Tuesday, possibly a significant amount.

And the beat goes on!

Friday, January 21, 2011

More snow!

We're on a two hour delay for the second time this week. It's great because the staff gets to wait til after rush hour to go to work, and the kids aren't on the streets when people are driving to work. The city I work in never plows, and it's a walking district- a bad combination. And since we're there four hours, it's a day we don't have to make up in June.

I haven't been out yet, but it looks like a combo of snow and slush out there.

Yesterday was a sad anniversary- it's one year since the death of my friend Linda. It's been a rough year for her daughter Megan. Megan is 6 days older than Heather. Megan's older sister died of Reye's Syndrome in 1981. Megan said on facebook yesterday that it isn't getting less painful. "They" say the first year is the hardest, with all the firsts without the loved one. My dad died almost four years ago, and I thought the second year was as hard as the first. The pain of loss didn't start to blur on the edges til year 3. Now I go entire days without thinking of Dad, which amazes me. My brother John took and uses a lot of Dad's tools, and he said he talks to Dad everytime he uses the tools.

Manda and Ben are in NC- they arrived late last night. They'll be visiting with Heather, Ed, Eddie and Julianna until Sunday. Luckily the NC weather is holding, and no snow in their forecast.

Tomorrow we're going to a 90th birthday party for Aunt Marie, the older sister of my late father in law. It'll be Mom Florence's first big outing, other than going to doctors. Ralph took her to the hairdresser's, which was good for her spirits. She can't be left alone, because she forgets how to get up, and we're afraid she'll fall. It's a good thing Ralph is retired- he goes to Frank and Charlotte's when they have to go out and stays with her.

I finished the donation afghan for this year's farm fair, and I'm almost done a baby afghan using the last of the soft yarn. Fun Fur was on sale, so I got enough to make several scarves for next winter- I don't think I'll get them done for this year.

And the beat goes on!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Long Weekend!

Miss Millie approves of the latest afghan I finished. It's shades of green with cream, so it goes very well with the family room colors, and co-ordinates well with Miss Millie.
We had a snow day on Wednesday! We got about 6 inches, and the roads were a mess Wednesday morning. It was the first, and I hope the last snow day this school year.
It's nice to have an unplanned day off, but we have to make it up in June. We're already up til June 20 before we get out. The problem is, the kids are "done" after Memorial Day. We can hold school, but we can't make them learn!
It's been a while since I've done a quilt on the HQ16. I did this one a couple of months ago. The room formerly known as the living room is now the HQ room. It gets plenty of natural light.
You get it all set up, then it's kind of like drawing. Sewing on a regular sewing machine is like drawing, but moving the paper instead of the pen. With the mid-arms and long-arms, you draw by moving the needle, or "pen". It's a lot of fun when all is going well.
I was doing a meander all over. I have groovy boards and pantos, but I like the look of a meander.
Just loops all over.
This the needle area when there is no quilt loaded. Last year my goal was to quilt all my flimsies (quilt tops that haven't been quilted). The Fates laughed, I got really sick, and didn't do any. Hopefully this year will be better.

Ralph is at Frank and Charlotte's, Mom-sitting while they go out. Mom Florence can't be left alone- she's got residual forgetfulness from the stroke. She's doing much better since she's out of rehab, and she and Sheba are so happy to be reunited!

We're off tomorrow for MLK. I wonder how the man would feel knowing his birthday has become a day off? I wonder if he, along with Lincoln and Washington, would rather the children be in school learning about them? Lou shares MLK's actual birthday, so I always remember Lou's birthday.

I'm reading "Night Vision" by Paul Levine on the Nook. He writes a series about Jake Lassiter, Miami lawyer and former football player. It's an interesting series, mysteries of course.

I have enough soft yarn left for one more baby afghan, so I started that last night. I'm trying to not buy any yarn, except for the fun fur that I need to make a couple more scarves. They go fast, and I like the fuzzy look.

Manda and Ben fly in to NC this week to visit Heather and Ed and Eddie and Julianna. They haven't seen each other since Manda and Ben's wedding, so they have a lot to catch up on. Between talking, the Wii, the trampoline, and the ATV's, they should be busy without ever leaving the property!

Manda had sent me a recipe that I tried last night. Deli turkey, tomato, and a topping made from mayo, yogurt, and shredding cheese, grilled on wheat bread. It was really good, and goes in the keeper file!

And the beat goes on!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A New Look!

I'm having one of those nights/early mornings when I can't sleep, so of course I'm on the computer. I've been thinking for a while that the plain pink borders to my blog are boring, especially compared to other blogs I've seen.

Blogger made it so easy to change the look! I love it- a new look for a new year!

I spent some time on Calibre last night organizing the books I've downloaded for my Nook. Like Manda, I've put a lot of books on the Nook that I had actual copies of, which I can now pass on. Right now I'm reading The Cat, The Professor and The Poison by Leann Sweeney on the Nook. I started a library book called Holiday Affair by Lisa Plumley, but that's going back unfinished.

Today is the big moving day for Mom Florence- she goes from rehab to Frank and Charlotte's house, where Sheba will join her. Poor Mom thought yesterday was Saturday, and was all ready to be sprung from rehab. I can sympathize- I spent so much of April and May in the hospital, and it's awful. No matter how kind the staff is, no matter how many visitors you have, it gets to the point where you just want out!

Yesterday morning it snowed. Not a lot, but enough to make the side streets slippery. We had to hold the kids in the cafeteria until all the staff could get to work. Luckily the snow stopped by noon, and by dismissal the roads were fine.

Ralph and I gave each other a Keurig for Christmas, and I bought a variety of teas and coffees. I've been drinking lemon blueberry herbal tea, and it's so good! I have to order some decaf for Ralph- some of those coffees are really high caffeine!

Gas is now $2.93 a gallon! Heather said it's higher in NC, plus in NC you have to pump it yourself! I never realized how great it is to have someone pump your gas til I travelled.

And the beat goes on!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Three King's Day

We are off work today because it's Three King's Day, which is a big holiday in some hispanic countries, and our district has a lot of hispanics. Ironicially, I'm never found a kid yet who knows what Three King's Day is, or who celebrates it. It's a bonus day off for us.

So I've already been to the lab and had bloodwork drawn, after I slept in for an hour. I have to go to the grocery store for a few things. Snow is predicted for tonight into tomorrow, so the store will be filled with people buying bread and milk.

January 4 was a day of anniversaries. It was Ed and Heather's 9th wedding anniversary. How fast that time has gone! It was also the 6th anniversary of Ralph's Dad Rocco's dying. R.I.P. Rocco.

Mom Florence is scheduled to be discharged from rehab on Saturday, to Frank and Charlotte's house. She's using a walker with supervision, and a wheelchair.

We have some birthdays this month. Lou will be 80 something on January 15. Later in the month Zachary will be 10- how can that be? His dad Jimmy will be a little older than that a few days later.

My girlfriend Linda would have turned 58 on the 29th. I attended her funeral last year in January when she died entirely too young. This has been a rough year for her daughter Megan.

I love Facebook. Because of Facebook I'm now in contact with my Aunt Diane, the widow of my Uncle John, and my friend Doris, who was my maid of honor. I keep track of some of my cousins, including one who I haven't seen in about 30 years and who now lives in Idaho. Steph says I stalk her on Facebook, which isn't true.

I just finished The Cat, the Quilt and the Corpse on my Nook. It's a cozy written by Leanne Sweeney, who is also on DorothyL. I'm starting another one by her called The Cat, The Professor and The Poison. I've got over 500 books on my Nook!

I finished another granny stripe afghan last night. This one is in shades of green, and I love it. It may take up residence on the coach with the quilt that my internet group made me.

And now I really have to go to Perks!


Sunday, January 2, 2011

January 2, 2011

I'm going backward in time, posting pictures from Thanksgiving. Mom and Manda were very intently looking at proofs of the wedding pictures on my laptop. We were at Mike and Donna's house. Manda and Ben used up most of their vacation time getting married and honeymooning, so they spent the long weekend of Thanksgiving with us, then went to Omaha and spent a long weekend in December. They were in Nebraska for Becca's college graduation and then did "Christmas" with the Briles. They spent the actual Christmas in Houston, and Kyle and Danielle went to visit them the week after, and spent New Year's Eve with them.
Ralph and Ben chatted while waiting for dinner to be served. Ben looks really different without the long hair- his hair is so curly!
Wild turkeys were in the backyard! Sometimes the yard is just covered with them. They keep a bunch of pairs of binoculars in order to wildlife watch.
Ralph and Mikey got to visit. Mikey is so good about taking Mom to doctor's appointments and shopping- he and Steph both do a lot for their grandmother.
Joseph's birthday is always Thanksgiving week. He turned 24 and couldn't believe how old he's getting. He's a busy guy with college and working, but always finds time to visit his grandmom. Taylor also works and goes to school, so they are a busy couple.
And Jake! I can't believe he's 10! Jake and Eddie have very similar personalities- very sweet kids, and kind to others.
Mikey and Grandmom enjoying each others company.
Steph brought a tofu-turkey with her. Some of us were brave enough to taste it. She's been a vegan for quite a while now, and says it makes her feel so good. She just finished her first semester of grad school at St. Joe's in Philly, and got all A's! In Addition to working full time, and sharing her life with Whiskey and Toast.
Poor Xena, the Warrior Princess. She was kind of creaky from arthritis, and she died the following week at 13. She will be sadly missed.
Dessert! Pumpkin roll, pumpkin pie, Joseph's Trifle, and coconut cream pie!
When I posted the Christmas pix, I missed posting one of Julianna and Eddie in her Dora jeep that Santa brought. She played in it for about an hour before she realized that it had a battery and she could drive it outside!

Christmas break is almost over- I go back to work tomorrow. Mom Florence was having a good day yesterday, and asked for an Italian Hoagie for lunch today. Ralph went off to feed Sheba and go to the Gallery for the hoagie, then off to lunch at rehab with her.

Ben called on New Year's Eve day to tell me that they were in Galveston, and there was a Rita's Water Ice there! Before then, the closest one to Houston was in Florida, so they are really excited. I see a lot of trips to Galveston in their future, luckily it isn't too far! And it's open all year!

I spent some time yesterday tidying up in the sewing room. It was a total disaster, since it was also wrapping central. I've been catching up on shows that I DVR'd- I watched all the Blue Bloods and Hawaii 50's, and I've started on the Glee's. I crochet while I watch, so I don't feel like I'm just wasting time.

I also downloaded a whole bunch of books to my Nook. I'm getting seriously addicted to reading on the Nook.

Here's hoping that 2011 will be kinder to us than 2010 was.