Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Just an ordinary day

Today is just that; an ordinary day. I've been in my work room all afternoon just plugging away at things that need to be done and wondering what I could write about today. Something really clever; something profound; something that would make me sound creative and interesting. Then it came to me, today is just what it is; an ordinary day in the life of an ordinary woman, married to an ordinary man, living in an ordinary town.

And, I ask myself, what's wrong with that? Write what you know. So here goes.

First of all, today is extraordinary in that it is, my old and dear friend, Priscilla's 62nd birthday. I told her in an email today that she can draw her social now. Don't know if she will, but I urged her to. It's so much fun to sit at home, enjoying the gifts God has given you and draw a check every month.

In the ordinariness of this day I:

Visited Florence at the nursing home.
Treated my husband to coffee and a yummy after our visit.
Received an invitation to Jim's family reunion.
Talked to my SIL on her way to Florida. They're in SC and it's summy.
Started looking at crafts for Summer Reading
Booked a program for above Summer Reading.
Made an appointment to have our taxes done.
Checked the airlines to see how many bags we can take on our trip to NV.
Cancelled reservations for a scrapbook weekend I can't attend. (SIGH)
Made dinner reservations for this evening.
Sent several emails.
Read all of my favorite blogs.

You know, my days might be ordinary, but they sure aren't boring. 'Til later, have a great, extraordinary day.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A talented guy!!

This was sent to me by a friend from Florida lately. I've been wanting to post it, but due to my lack of knowledge had to wait for Tracy to come and bail me out. Her daughter said that they must have moved to their house just so she and I could blog together. I don't know why she moved here, but I know I sure am glad she did. We are really blessed to have their family as neighbors.

Anyway, back to Buddy Greene. When I went to You Tube, I found several neat videos of him playing his harmonica. I hope you all enjoy him as much as I did. I still go back and play it when I want a real "feel good" moment. I hope it makes anyone reading this post as happy as it does me.

Have a great day!

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Have you ever had one of those "perfect" Sunday services? You know the ones I'm talking about, where everything that happens seems like it came from the hand of God to you personally. That was today for me. From the minute I walked into the sanctuary to the last "amen", I was blessed.

The service started with the chorus "He Has Made Me Glad". Right away, that song makes me want to dance in the aisles. I looked across the church and saw my friend, Cheri, bouncing on her toes with the same need to dance that I had. Then the choir sang "Wings of the Dawn". I swear I have never heard them sound more beautiful. I felt that I could leave right then and be fortified to take on the world.

The sermon was powerful. My friend, Chrissy, says she wants to squirm a little during the sermon. I think we all felt that today, but at the end of the squirming is the love and forgiveness of Jesus. If Pastor's plan was to make us desire more of Jesus - he succeeded.

The closing song was "A Mighty Fortress is my God". What an appropriate ending to the service. We came away reminded that "nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus". Amen.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A sweet day with Emily

What a great day I had today. My friend Laurie's youngest daughter is getting married in May. Her sister, Emily, and I are giving a shower for her so we went off today to buy shower things. Of course, we left home at 10:30 A.M. and never got to the shower shopping until 3 P.M.

In the meantime.....we stopped at the nursing home to see our friend Florence. I don't know that I've written a lot about Florence here. She is an old and dear friend of mine from way back. We met about 38 years ago when we both worked for the same company. Never married, she asked Jim and I to be her power of attorney and health care proxy - and that we are, gladly. The past five years haven't been kind to our precious friend - she is suffering from Alzheimer's. Although she can't always call me by name, I am always sure she knows I'm someone who loves her. Emily and I had a great time with Florence and her friend, Marion.

Emily and Florence

After I took this picture, I showed it to Marion. She said, "Look, I'm in there".

Emily is a teacher, albeit without a permanent position ,yet a teacher nonetheless. She is as wonderful with the elderly as she is with elementary children. She just has a heart for people who need her. The best laugh of the day was when Marion showed us her pretty bangly bracelet....which I had given Florence for Christmas. Hey, everyone was happy, so what's the difference?

After a pleasant half hour or so with these ladies, we decided to just take a quick run to Michael's. Emily had to return an item for her mom and I am always game for Michael's. To our credit, though we lusted, we didn't buy anything. I think that might be a first for me.

Since we were right across the street from the mall, why not just take a walk around? The theme for the shower is "Simply Elegant". It's a surprise for Meghan that we are asking everyone to dress in black and white. Of course, neither Emily nor I have anything (or should I say "had" anything) quite right for the party ...but we do now. What fun! And everything was on sale. Hmmm! How do you suppose those other three shirts found their way into my bag? As much as Jim loves and indulges me, he will never understand my passion for clothes.

What's a trip to the mall at 12:30 P.M. without lunch? Once again to our credit, although we ate at Friendly's, we didn't have ice cream. And the coffee at Starbuck's later was only 90 calories. I'm telling you, after three days of the Special K diet, I really needed a good solid lunch.

After returning Emily's shoes to Target, we finally made our way to the party store where we found everything we wanted for the tables. One more stop at Dollar Tree (my all time favorite) and we were on our way home. I walked in the door about 5:30, just in time for the spaghetti dinner Jim had prepared.

Now, I ask you, is that the life or what? As I reflect on the day, I can't help but think how God has blessed me with friends of all ages and from all walks of life.

To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.

-David Viscott

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Brand New Week

As much as I've complained and as slow as recovery has been, I do feel better every day. That said, it follows that today is the best I've felt this year. Even though I have bemoaned the state of my health these past weeks, I am really grateful for the progress I am making. Jim, too, is getting better each day. At this rate, we think we might even be up to having dinner guests by the weekend. HALLELUJAH!!!

Speaking of praises, we were both healthy enough to attend church yesterday. I had only been away two weeks, but it felt like much longer. It is so encouraging to be in corporate worship with friends and loved ones. It was really good to be back.

We did a little "doggie duty" in the afternoon. Our friends had to be away for the day and we were lucky enough to be able to take their greyhound, Cabela, out for his afternoon constitutional. He is such a great dog. I don't know if all greyhounds are like him, but he has the nicest temperament. He's a little stubborn at times, but his overall congeniality makes it easy to forgive that little glitch in his personality.

Honestly, his eyes don't glow in the dark.

Bad photographer!!

There is a sadness to this story though. He is suffering from a very rare canine autoimmune disease and the prognosis isn't good. We are all trying to enjoy every moment we have with him. He has had a wonderful life since his adoption and that gives us comfort.

Last night, we received a call from our neighbor telling us that they had said "goodbye" to their wonderful chocolate lab on Saturday. She has been a part of their lives for so many years. It was like losing a family member. They decided to bury her in the back yard. I went over to visit her grave today and left a flower. We will miss her so much. She had been ill for some time and we know this is best for her.

I hope this doesn't sound like a maudlin post. Both of these animals have blessed and enhanced the lives of those around them. They are a part of the circle of our lives and we are the better for having known them. This then, is about the joy of their being.

"The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions, not on our circumstances."

Martha Washington

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Crop Talk

Despite colds, flu and other obstacles, Laurie, Emily and I managed to make it to at least part of the weekend scrap. I think, wisely, we decided to forgo the overnight part of the weekend and just go for the day yesterday. It was great.

We left here about 8 AM, stopping to buy milk for Sunday's breakfast on the way. When we arrived at the lodge, some of the overnighters were not even out of bed yet. In their defense, I need to say they had been up until the wee hours creating gorgeous layouts. But lucky for us, breakfast was just being served. The strata was absolutely delicious. So, even though I had had my Special K at home, I was forced to have some strata and fruit. Yum! Yum!

With unpacking, eating breakfast and hugging everyone we hadn't seen for months, it was close to 10 before we got started. And true to my practice, it was a good hour before I had a layout done. I'm working on our trip from NY to NV last winter. I'm going to bare my soul here and tell you that I am not a very creative or expert scrapper. Nevertheless, I LOVE it and am hooked. At the risk of showing my ineptitude, I am going to post a few of the pages I did this weekend. The first ones were of family.

This one is of Paige's little friend Liam. While we were in Chicago, he tested for his "yellow belt" in Tai Kwan Do. It was good to be there and share in the fun.

The second stop on our journey was in Indiana to see Jim's Aunt Geraldine (89 years of age). She even cooked for us. She is such a pip and a joy to be around.

From Indiana, we went to Jim's nephew and his family in Memphis. The blank page is for journaling about this wonderful time with family.

I did, in fact, finish eight pages in eight hours. That was quite a feat for me. But, as I said, most of my layouts are very simple. That really doesn't matter, does it? I just love the whole idea of scrap booking. It brings me such a sense of accomplishment. To say nothing of a day with people I admire and enjoy. People I rarely get to spend time with.

This is Laurie and Mary. Two very special ladies.

Sherry and friends.

By seven o'clock, the sick ones were ready to head on home. It was a terrific day which left us looking forward to the next one, which for me won't be until I come home in April - with tons of pictures from this trip, I hope.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Day 2 - Starting Over

Oh the life of the retired. I won't tell you how totally decadent I was today, only to say that I slept really late. A little clue as to how late - I awoke at 8 to a really terrific wind storm. I looked out the window to see the squirrel who frequents our bird feeder with his tail straight out behind him like a wind sock. After a good laugh, I went back to bed. To arise at a time - much later. It felt soooo good.

The problem with arising mid-morning is that my brain feels like scrambled eggs. It took me quite a while to decide that I could accomplish something in this day. I started with writing to my MIL. She is going to be so very surprised next week when she gets her weekly letter - FROM ME!! Jim writes every day and mails it on Monday. She won't be expecting a letter next week because of his hand surgery. I am having tons of fun writing to her. I wish I could see her face when she receives this one. She is such a peach of a lady. I'm so happy that I can have this chance to surprise her. Sometime I'm going to write about all the wonderful things she has done for me in the 39 years I've been her DIL. When I hear people complain about their MIL's I sometimes feel almost guilty. We (Carolyn,Bonnie and I) really lucked out.

Okay, on to the rest of the day. Last November, a young man with connections to our community, had an ATV accident which left him a paraplegic. His mother, who is divorced from his father, is from our town and people have been so very concerned for her and her son. The young man is in a rehab facility in Atlanta, GA, which has produced many expenses for his mom. Some friends of his grandparents have decided to sponsor a fundraiser. Next Monday they will put on a dinner to raise money to help with Mom's expenses as she goes back and forth to Atlanta.

I had been called upon to solicit cookies for dessert for this dinner. The original request was for 30-40 dozen. That was easy. I made a few phone calls and had these promised in no time. Last night the committee met and discovered they had sold 500 tickets to this dinner. I got the phone call in the early evening informing me of the numbers. Soooo, this morning found me back on the phone. I less than 30 minutes, I had 90 dozen cookies promised. Where else but in small town America could this happen? We are so blessed to live in this community where people care so deeply about one another.

I am so very spoiled. Jim retired three years before I did and just took over many of the household tasks. As I was still working, I don't think I really noticed how much he did. After my retirement, I took on some consulting jobs, began stamping and scrap booking and just took for granted the amount of work he did around here. ENTER carpal tunnel surgery. OH MY!! I can't believe how much I have to do in a day.

For instance:


Jim, who arises much earlier than I, does most of the laundry. I do my very special things that need to be washed according to label directions. (Jim hasn't mastered the art of reading labels yet) But everything else, he takes care of. I am doing my best to keep up, but doing laundry really gets in the way of stamping and blogging. To say nothing of cooking, doing dishes, sweeping, vacuuming and dusting. I can hardly wait for his hand to heal so we can get back to normal around here.

We had a really nice surprise this afternoon when I went to the post office. There was a package from BIL and SIL with our Christmas presents. What fun we had opening the box and then opening our packages. It was like Christmas all over again. We called to thank them and had a happy conversation discussing all the gifts. Lots of fun!!!

So you can see, it's been a great day. Tomorrow I'm off to breakfast with the "Losers" and then to Michael's to spend some of my gift card. I can hardly wait.

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.

Job 8:21

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Starting Over

This has been such a wonderful day. Before I write about it though, I need to express how disappointed I am about my terrible attitude of the last two posts. When will I learn that I am not in charge? I am truly one of God's brat children, continually insisting on having my own way. How patient He is with me as He tries over and over again to teach me that life isn't all about me.
I didn't sleep well last night. Could it be guilt over my bad attitude that kept me awake. It's bad enough to have such a terrible attitude, but then to announce it to the world, oh my! Anyway, in spite of only 4 hours sleep, I awoke with a new outlook on life, determined to face the world with a smile. Part of the reason for that is that my darling husband, who btw has the cold now, said, "So we start the New Year a little later than everyone else. That doesn't mean we can't begin with resolve." Isn't he oh so wise? Is it any wonder I love him so.
So, I left my darling home blowing his nose and went off to see the doctor. She, by the way, didn't think I was a wimp, rather gave me an antibiotic and a nose spray. She is really a sweetheart. I think I'd go see her even if I didn't have medical issues. Because I dawdled this morning, I didn't get to eat breakfast. Hence I decided to stop at McDonald's and have a sausage/egg McMuffin. I can't remember the last time I ate McDonald's but it was good. I could just feel my arteries clogging.
Another 60+ degree day, led me to give Homer a bath at the roadside car wash. How could I treat one car better than the other?
Arriving home, it's only mid-morning and I am not yet exhausted. Yippee!! So, finally, I get to the Christmas decorations.

I've always said that there's nothing so over as Christmas. Isn't that true? My house still looks pretty bare as I am determined to clean before I put everything back in place. I don't know when that will be. I hope before Easter!!!

When that was done I took advantage of the warm day and dismantled the tree on the porch. I can't store it away. That will have to wait for Jim's hand to heal. But at least it is taken down and in the storage box.
NOW, the good part. All that was done by about 2 P.M. and I had the whole rest of the afternoon to myself. I came into my work room and stamped cards. It has been sooo wonderful. I have Nora Jones and Josh Groban on the cd player. Odd combination, huh? As the afternoon sun was setting, Jim, who was watching the food network and reading, knocked on the door and said Sandra Lee said it was cocktail time. Sure enough, he had a glass of wine for me. Talk about a perfect afternoon.

Here are some of the cards I made.

This is my favorite stamp at the moment. It is so versatile.

This is Priscilla's birthday card. I'm safe in showing it. She doesn't read my blog.

I love this one. I messed it up, so just tore the corner and stamped inside.
I just love being able to screw up and make it look artistic.

This one is so simple and easy. I plan to mass produce it for birthdays, get well and thank you notes.

I know this has been an extremely long post, but I just had to share my wonderful day - and my repentance. Sleep well and sweet dreams.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden,

and I will give you rest

Matthew 11:28

Monday, January 7, 2008

January (UGH) Thaw

It was 65 degrees in the Rochester today!! 65 Degrees!! Tomorrow is supposed to be the same. I might run the risk of making enemies by saying this, but I HATE January thaws. I put it to you, what would you rather see looking out your window in January, beautiful white snow or THIS?

Would you choose this?

or this?

Okay, I rest my case. I guess it doesn't take a genius to ascertain that I'm a bit cranky today. Take the weather, bleak and drab (okay, warm too) add eleven days of this grippe and I readily admit to being a bit on the bucky side.

There were some positive happenings today. I felt some better so I actually got dressed in real clothes. I told Jim that if he was a good boy, I'd take him to the library. He's been reading like a fiend since he can't do much else with his right hand.

Did I mention he had carpal tunnel surgery on Friday? He is really dong well and has done exactly as the Dr. told him. He has definitely earned a treat. So, off we went to the library. Since we were out, we might as well treat ourselves further, so we stopped at a little breakfast place on the way. It was a cute little cafe and we enjoyed a lovely breakfast.

On to the library where we found several books to keep us from going totally stir crazy. Oh yes, another positive of the day was that since it was warm, I felt totally safe in taking poor Olivia to the car wash. Why did we buy a black car? Oh yes, I remember the price was right and my dear old Electra was near death.

The afternoon brought a lovely nap and some time to read. We had a great dinner. Now I hope to write to my MIL (Jim writes her a little bit every day and mails it once a week). Since he can't write, I thought I'd take over for this week. I did make an appointment with my doctor for tomorrow. This thing is just hanging on way too long and I want to feel good for the weekend. I'm off to a two-day scrap-a-thon and I need to be feeling my best - well, better than this anyway. I'm so excited. I haven't done any scrapping since early December.

Okay, I'll close for now. Forgive my crabbing about the weather. Just five weeks from tomorrow, we'll be in Vegas (Henderson, actually) enjoying the sun for six whole weeks. YESSS!!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Under the in"flu"ence

Oh my! Have I been sick!

Poor Jim. This is the sight that greeted him when he came in from snow-blowing on New Year's Eve morning. I had come downstairs, taken two sinus pills and heated my herbal pack. My friend Heather was here visiting and I barely managed to lift my head and say "Goodbye". I had gone to bed the night before not feeling very well. I skipped church on Sunday and was sure I'd be better by Monday. HA!! New Year's found me sicker than ever. I kept telling everyone I had the grippe which is what my Grandmother would have called my malady.

To make a very long story short, here I am a week later and still not back on my feet. I must admit that I am better, but not MUCH better which is what I have hoped for every day of the New Year.

Much to my chagrin, I am not behaving very well either. I would like to report how brave and positive I have been in the face of this monster. As my daughter, Gretchen, would say - "Not so much". Rather, I have been whiny and moany and very, very sorry for myself.

I had such great plans for the New Year. You know the drill; put away the Christmas decorations, clean in the corners gone unnoticed during December, start a brand new year with my blog.... The list is endless, and here I sit.

So, just in case anyone really does read my blog, here I am, hoping against hope that Monday will be the start of my "New Year".

A little belatedly, I wish you all a Happy New Year. Hope to see you next week.