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!

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!

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!


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!

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!