Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother

 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.   Exodus 20:12

   Rick and I will be married thirty seven years next month.  We have lived close to his family and worked with them all of our married life.  I have watched this commandment in action all these years, but never as much as the last few months.  Rick, and many of his family, are demonstrating what this commandment really means.

    Last summer we witnessed the slow decline of his parents.  Up to that point, they seemed to be the picture of health.  The two of them ran a successful business.  Rick's father invented a tool and a few other items that they made and sold on a regular basis.  At the age of 87 and 84, the two of them were quite independent, yet dependent at the same time.  Many of the required tasks had become too hard for Rick's father, so the sons took care of the job.  Rick's mother continued to help full time with tool production, as well as the bookkeeping. 

     We could see it was getting to be too much for his mom, and her back was giving her fits.  Yet, she continued to work like a woman twenty years younger.  Last August, the pain took over and she was relegated to her couch.  We were gone for three weeks on a trip and upon our return, we wondered who took his mother and who was this imposter?  Her physical decline in three short weeks was frightening.

    One morning in an attempt to help herself, she slipped and fell, breaking her hip.  Within twenty four hours she was in surgery.  The doctor recommended rehabilitation facility.  As hard as it was for Rick's parents to move into the center, they accepted it as their lot in life.  Rick's family was amazing in their support of their parents.  From the rehab center, they moved quite willingly to an assisted living home.  The siblings pulled together as they helped them move, get settled and clean out their former home. 

    Rick's mother suffers from Alzheimer's and his father has dementia.  Anger can arise at any given moment with his father.  I know, I have been on the receiving end of it.  For this reason, the best way I can honor him is to allow Rick to do what ever is needed for them, and for me to help when needed.  So most of the time I am in the background supporting my husband by listening.  I have given them rides to appointments, church and meetings when Rick is unable to go.  I have learned to hold my tongue when need be.  This is my way to keep this commandment.  And I do it with love, compassion and kindness for several reasons.  First, it is just easier to avoid a confrontation.  Second, God has commanded that I honor him.  When I married into the family he became my father as well.  Third, it is the right thing to do.  He has worked hard his entire life and I must respect him, my elder.  His brain isn't functioning properly, so therefore I cannot hold him responsible for everything that he utters.

     Honor thy father and thy mother.  Some days it is really hard and some days it is a joy.  But no one ever said life was going to be an easy walk.  I just know it's worth it.

Friday, March 2, 2012


First off, let me apologize for letting you down yesterday.  I promised to post a new thought each day during lent, and I failed to do that yesterday.  Each day I pray for inspiration.  Yesterday I had a hard time grasping an idea.  I tried to write late in the afternoon, but I found the creative juices dry up at that time of day.

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Today I feel especially blessed.  I have been pondering on this verse.  A friend loves at all times.  At this time of the year I think of my BFFs.  For those unfamiliar with the abbreviation, it stands for 'best friend forever'.  And I made mine plural because I am surrounded by many such people.  How can a person have more than one best friend?

First and foremost, I have a someone who is with me 24/7.  I often find myself having a conversation all day long.  I can tell my someone anything on my mind or in my heart.  I complain, make requests, praise and most of all worship this friend.  How wonderful it is to have a companion all day and  night!  I know everything I tell will never be revealed.  My friend is the first one I think of when I wake up and the last one before I fall asleep.  I imagine you have figured this one out, my friend is Jesus.

Another best friend has been with me for thirty-eight years.  We met on his birthday and my true personality was not hidden from his view.  He must have liked what he saw because before the night was over we had a date.  But that is another story for another day.  Two years later we were married and he has been there for me ever since.  To let you think it has been rosy all the time, well,  that would be misleading.  But  over time our relationship has grown stronger and  it's nice to look back over thirty-seven years and the experiences we have shared.

I am also blessed with a group of women  I like to call my besties.  There are seven of us and we gather once a summer to have a slumber-less party.   We are all old enough to be grandmothers, and some of us have the privilege of belonging to that club.   But when the seven of us gather for one or two nights, we turn back into junior high girlfriends.  We tell stories and giggle half the night.  But we are much more than that.  We love at all times.  We have raised our children together.  We had overnights, camping trips, day gatherings with sometimes as many as two dozen youngsters.  We have a bond that goes much deeper still.  Our faith is the glue the cements our friendship.  We support each other in prayer and there has been plenty of opportunities to fulfill that pledge to each other.  I know if I need anyone for a shoulder to lean on, cry on, a buddy to laugh with and most importantly a friend to pray with I can call one of these gals and I will not be alone.

I have sisters, sister-in-laws, sisters in kind, sisters in Christ, aunts, cousins and neighbors, all who I feel I can call friends.  What a blessing that is to me.  And I know there are more friends I haven't met, more kindred spirits to keep in my heart.

And as for the second part of the verse, brothers are for adversity, well maybe when I was growing up.  My brothers and I did fight, but they were also my playmates, my first friends.  I have eight brothers and I consider all of them, along with their wives, my friends.  So I don't think that part holds as much truth for me.  My family helped make me into the person I am today.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.
Matt: 7:11

     One of my favorite things to do each week is pick up two of my grandchildren after school.  We drive to a neighboring town where my granddaughter participates in dance class. 

     I was asked by someone yesterday, "Why is dance class for a five year old so important that you are responsible for taking her all the time?  Why don't her parents?"  My answer, without hesitation,"I volunteered for this job.  It is my choice.  As a matter of fact, I suggested it last spring.  It is her birthday gift from me.  Rather than spend money on a toy that she probably doesn't need, I decided to give her my time.  Her parents pay for the classes and I take her there each week.  Her gift lasts all year long."

      If truth be told, I am the one receiving the gift.  This grandma job (Grammie, as they call me) is one of the best positions I have held yet.  Where else could I show up for the job on my schedule and be loved just for arriving?  My presence hasn't been this exciting to another being since we had a loveable dog named Snoopy.  He was ALWAYS  glad to see me!  I have been told she looks forward to this weekly outing as much as I do.  At first it was just my granddaughter and I each Wednesday afternoon.  But since she switched schools this semester, we have expanded our twosome to a threesome to include her older brother. 

     One pleasure is the car ride.  We usually keep the radio off and talk. We discuss what is on their mind. Sometimes I hear the best secrets on that stretch of highway.  They know their thoughts are safe with me.  Last week we were talking about secrets.  I told them unless their secret harms someone, I can be counted on to keep it to myself.  My eight year old grandson picked up on that.  He commented that if an adult is being mean to a kid and asks them to keep it a secret, it must be told.  Sort of like if an adult was being a bully.  He went on to exclaim that could never be me.  And that I treat people nice.  And the icing on the cake, "Why Grammie, you are one of my favorite people in the whole world."  See what I mean.  I get more than I give.

     We make up games we can play while we drive.  Sometimes it's math, spelling, rhyming, synonyms, antonyms, etc.   We talk about books, sports (soccer) and their friends.  We usually find a reason to get silly.  Last night it was bananas.  Who thought that yellow, crescent shaped fruit could be so funny? One of the best sounds in the world to me is the sound of my grandchildren enjoy a huge belly laugh.

    While dance class is in session, my grandson and I use that time to play hangman, Yahtzee or tic, tac, toe.  The last few weeks we have invited other siblings waiting for their sister to join in the fun.  It is so fun to sit on the floor,  play games and give high five congratulations to each other on a successful game.   Last week we multi-tasked.  We colored a poster and played Yahtzee at the same time.   I think we all look forward to that forty-five minutes.

    Gifts, we give them, we get them.  I have found, the more I give, the more I get.  I love gifts.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

To forgive

Luke 6:36-37 (New International Version)

36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Sometimes I get so upset with others.  I can't understand why they do the things they do.  Or why they say the things they say.  I feel the pain that has been inflicted on a loved one.  Sometimes I want to grab them by the shoulder and shake them.  'STOP IT!  Can't you see what that is doing to them?'
But that is not my job.   I must learn to first look at myself.  I must examine my own actions and remember the times I have hurt others.  And ask first for forgiveness for myself, with a resolve to not be a repeat offender.  I must think before I speak and act.  This will take a lot of self reflection, and self control.  I must also not beat myself up over my mistakes.  Do my best to correct them, learn from them and move on.
Next, I need to pray for myself,  for the grace to forgive them.  Jesus gave me the example to follow.  Forgive them and pray for them.  It was a command, not a recommendation.  So I need to pray for them, forgive them, treat them with respect and compassion as I encounter them in situations.  It is pretty hard to stay mad at someone when I pray for them each morning.
Do not judge.  Forgive.  Pray.  I think there was a book and a movie called, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.  I haven't read it or seen the movie, but I will  try very hard to 'Pray, Love, Forgive'

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Resting Place

Jeremiah 31:25 I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint."

For some reason my sleep habits have reverted to BS.(Before Surgery).  I attributed my lack of shut eye during the night was related to the stress I had from work.  I was overworked through no fault of anyone, but myself.  Since my bunion surgery on January 5 of this year, I have been closed to business.  The first weeks were wonderful.  I slept in (until 6 a.m., sometimes even 7:30) most mornings.  The last week the old habit of waking around 2 a.m. has resurfaced. To coherce the sandman to return, I moved to the couch and the television softly lulled me back to sleep.  A week or so of that routine left me feeling exhausted. 

Today I sprawled on the couch for what I thought was a short afternoon nap.  Two hours later the door bell brought me back to the land of the living.  I guess I was really tired. 

I am so grateful for the position I am in life.  I was able to rest when I needed without a guilty feeling.  I let no one down as I refreshed my weary body.  When my body is rested, so is my soul.  And for that I am extremely thankful to God.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Listen and Act

What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.
                                                                  Matthew 10: 27

    Seven years ago I found myself in the most difficult situation I had ever faced.  My twenty-four year old daughter was in a hospital in the psychiatric wing.  Her mind left our world completely and she was living in a world of her own.  My efforts to reach her were unsuccessful.  She retreated to a place I couldn’t go and no amount of reasoning could convince her that the thoughts she had were not true.  I felt completely defeated as my husband and son took legal action to get her committed in a final effort to restore her health.  We learned she had schizophrenia.

      I turned to my faith, and found myself spending additional time in prayer each morning. I tried to make sense of what had happened.  At first I was very angry at God.  How could he do this to our family?  Hadn’t I been a faithful servant for many years?  And my daughter had been employed as a youth minister when mental illness struck her down.  I felt God had slapped us in the face in spite of our efforts to do what we thought was His will.  

       I knew very little about mental illness, getting my information from television and movies.  Through a series of phone calls from one concerned person to another, a phone number for help soon reached my ears.  I called the number and learned of a class for families in similar situations.  I signed up immediately and began a journey into love and the understanding of brain disorders.  The education I received gave me a glimpse of the world my daughter had entered, but more importantly I was given tools to help me cope.  

    I continued to pray for God’s guidance.  I came to the place where I was able to give my child back to the Father in my heart and to vow to follow Him in spite of the pain.  Through research and prayerful reflection I felt God was instructing me to work every day with my daughter to keep her brain engaged.  Each day I printed a word search game that we did together, and I played games with her that involved the addition of numbers.  Some days she was too exhausted to complete them, but she tried.  

    Over the period of four years, with intensive therapy and the proper medications, my beautiful daughter got her life back together.  This journey was a series of baby steps and each accomplishment was celebrated.  Eventually she was able to be employed and live on her own.  And I rejoiced.  I knew my prayers had been answered and I had witnessed a miracle.

     The classes I took were an important part of my transformation.  I signed up for training and became a teacher for the organization that educated me.  I found myself on the opposite side of the table, guiding other families into the world of acceptance, love and understanding for mental illness.  I share with families my own pain, but also my hope in the Lord and His ability to be glorified in all situations.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

  I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me.

                                                 Philippians 4:13


     Today is the beginning of Lent 2012.   As long as I can remember we have been encouraged to do something during this time.  As a child we gave up things.  Now I like to concentrate on positive things.  Something that will further me along on my journey of life.  If my life was a book that concludes on my death, I want each chapter to show growth in me as a person.  So I think Lent is a good time to write some new, interesting pages.


     This year I will focus on Mind, Body and Spirit.  These last weeks have not been kind to the body.  I felt hungry most of the time and even though I tried to keep my diet healthy, a few pounds managed to sneak on my body.  I don't mean to sound ungrateful for plenty of food to eat, but in reality, those pounds have to go.  But more importantly, I need to work on muscle tone, bone density and stamina.  That will be accomplished by moving.  So each day I plan to exercise using hand and leg weights.

   Next is my mind.  I see memory problems around me.   It saddened me this past Monday when my mother-in-law forgot my name.  We've known each other almost forty years.  I knew it was coming, but was shocked it came so quickly.  Anyway, research has learned that flexing your brain helps ward those maladies.  So I have enrolled in a creative writing class on line.  I plan to learn new things about the craft, which in turn will help me write a better blog.

Spirit, probably the most important of my goals.  I will continue to read my devotionals, prayer time will be longer and examining my own spirit with additional reading is part of the change I hope to see in me these next six weeks.  

But as every New Year's Resolution, I imagine I will falter.  There will be days I feel too tired to do all the items on "Improve Mona" list.  But I will continue to turn to God for the strength I need to stay on the path.  And when I fail, I will forgive myself, ask for forgiveness and begin each day anew.  In the words of a fictional character from one of my favorite series, Anne of Green Gables, "Each day is a new day with no mistakes."

Happy Lent Everyone.  And may the "force" be with you as you journey to the final destination, eternity with Christ.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fat Tuesday

     Fat Tuesday.  It's the last day before Lent begins tomorrow, Ash Wednesday.

     As I child we were encouraged to give something up for Lent.  It was to be a time of self sacrifice.
Many things we did as a child are no longer appropriate as an adult.  Mini skirts might be adorable on trim, athletic teen age girls, but the thought of this grandmother donning one makes me gag! So the idea of giving up food seems just as silly to me.  My diet may be viewed as a sacrifice by some.  Things that I avoid on a daily basis:  chocolate, eggs, chicken, turkey and alcohol in any form.  This includes foods cooked in wine.  What happens you may be asking?  All trigger migraine headaches.  Figuring this out has been a process of over 20 years.  So I avoid them if at all humanly possible.  
And don't forget french fries!  The biggest reaction of all - they make my backside swell and I outgrow my blue jeans. :)
     Giving things up for lent isn't a  self improvement item for me.  I already try to do this each and every day.  Instead I prefer to tackle a change in me on a different level.  Our homily last week encouraged us to form a habit during this lenten season that we can keep for life.  Mine?  I actually have several items on my 'improve Mona' list.  If I acknowledge them in this public forum, I feel more accountable.
1.  Write on this blog each day.  It may be early morning, late afternoon or just before bedtime, but write each day.  Dwell on a Bible verse and apply it to my own life.
2.  Exercise each day.  Strive for 30 minutes of floor, strength training.  With Lucie unable to pull her weight yet, I can't do aerobic this spring.  No 5K training for this gal.
3.  One spot in my house will be re-organized each day.  Start a St. Vincent de Paul box, a Stuff, etc box and use them!  It can be a drawer, or one book shelf. 

And there my blogging friends are my plans for the next weeks.  I may fail some days, but I will pick myself each time and start again. 

til tomorrow...  I'm off to eat something.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bye, Bye Bunions week 6

When I started down this road I thought I would be ready for surgery number two by this week.  Now I know I was wrong.  Today felt like a victory.  I went to the local town, visited my mom, drove to my son's office and picked up the grandchildren and transported them to school.  Afterward I returned to the office for a treatment and returned home.  I felt like such a winner because I had accomplished all of this wearing a tennis shoe on Lucie!  And I have continued to wear the same shoe all day long.  I stayed awake all day with no nap.  I AM making progress.  But there is no way that I am ready for a repeat on Rosie.  Lucie is not ready to bear all the weight while Rosie takes a break.  As of now de ja vu will take place in late March.  That is if everything goes as planned.  The way I feel tonight, it should be right on schedule.  I am putting fifty percent of weight on my left foot when I walk.  Next week it will move to 75% and the last week I will work my way up to 100%.  I look forward to walking 'normal' again.

I have to smile when I am with two of my grandchildren.  The same two children that 'Grammie-sat' with me that first weekend.  Each time we walk I see them limping exactly as I do.  It is really cute, and I encourage them to be themselves.  I'll be glad when I walk with a normal gait so they will as well.

Other than that, I don't have much else to report on bunion surgery.  I am pleased with the progress and look forward to a repeat performance in about six weeks.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Upcycling T-shirts to skirts

Not much new to report on my bunion surgery recovery - gradually putting more weight on my foot until I reach 100% at week 8.  I rest when I feel weary, put my foot up when it starts to let me know it is there, and basically follow Dr. C's instructions.  I have put away my crutches and Nellie.  No more getting pampered.

Instead today I will share my recent endeavor at upcycling. Last fall  I had a stack of t-shirts that didn't meet quality control. I re-ordered and reprinted them.  But I couldn't bear to make them into rags.  Our local school gathers items for shoe box donations each fall.  So I put on my thinking cap to come up with a process to upcycle the discarded T- shirts to skirts for young girls.  I wanted to make a fun donation to the project.

 The first step was to mark a straight line close to the logo printed on the t-shirt that I wanted to exclude from the skirt.  I felt a bar and grill logo just didn't seem appropriate to decorate a young girl's skirt.  After marking it I cut on the line with my sewing shears, cutting both the front and the back at the same time.   If you have a rotary cutter, board and ruler it can be used to save a step.

 Step 3.  Use your sewing shears to cut off the sleeves.

 Continue by opening up the shoulder seams and then cut the ribbing around the neckline off the t-shirt.  Set the items aside for another project.

 I turned the back of the t-shirt with wrong side down and marked two 2" strips the full width of the back.  I again cut the strips with my sewing shears.

  The next step was completed at my sewing machine.  I stitched the two pieces of the waistband to form a circle.  I took the circle to my serger, that I had threaded with a stretch wool decorative thread.  The tension was set loosely so the thread was visible.

 I pinned the right side of the waistband, the unfinished side to the wrong side of the skirt top.  I stitched it using a slight zig zag to give the seam some stretchability.  

I repeated the process  used on the waistband and serged with decorative thread at the bottom of the T-shirt, factory hem left in place.  This is now the skirt's hem.  To make the skirt a bit more fun, I found scraps of lace or eyelet and added to the hem.

The last step was cutting a length of waistband elastic 3 inches shorter than the waist measurement.  I stitched the elastic into a circle, sewing it several times to insure stability.  I placed the elastic on the right side of the skirt and folded the waistband to the right side, encasing the elastic.  I used a slight zig zag stitch as I  stretched the elastic to fit the skirt as I stitched.

Pictured are two of the eleven completed skirts.  I like the ruffles added on the hemline best and will add lace to the skirt with only decorative stitching.

Next up, matching t-shirts using scraps gleaned from the cast offs and parts of a white t-shirt that also failed my quality control inspection.  I enjoyed making a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Birthday Celebration

Feb 3, 2012 

What a great day yesterday turned out to be.  I woke up late, 6:15 a.m. when Dean called to wish me a Happy Birthday.  Why so early, you may be asking yourself?  You have to understand my non-competitive children.  It is a contest between them to see how can wish  "Happy Birthday" first to the family member on their day.  Rules:  It has to be on their birthday, can't be the night before.  Can't be by proxy.  It has to be reasonable, such as not at midnight.  Did I say my kids were not competitive.

FYI - 6:15 is reasonable for me.  Most days I am finished with my coffee and on to something else by that time. But I guess turning 57 made me extra tired and I was still snoozing at that time.  So that made Dean, number two in our line-up, the winner!  Adam, number four, was next, but alas, by the time he called I was at Mom's drinking coffee and eating blueberry muffins.  It still counts.  First runner-up goes to Adam.  Kathy, third in line, came in a close third, dialing my cell phone and catching me in a wonderful chat with my mom.  Eric, our eldest, knew he would see me in the evening and doesn't join the melee.  He has two kids to get off to school before he goes to his office.  It's okay, Eric, I know you just aren't the competitive type!?!  In reality, Rick won grand prize, wishing me a happy birthday at 4:30 a.m. before we both passed out again.  We had gone to a concert at church the night before and it was TOO early to get up.

My mom is my mentor and I owe so much to her.  So I feel spending my birthday with her is top on my own list of birthday priorities.  And since I have been unable to drive until today, I had only been to see her twice since surgery.  She almost jumped for joy when she saw my car and me walk up her wheelchair ramp unattended.  Being almost 86, I think she thought better of the idea.  We had an amazing time and it was hard to leave.  But I knew my dear friend since 1969, Joan, would be waiting for me at my house.  And she was.

The next three hours were spent in more chat time, taking down the Christmas tree in the living room (Yes, you read that correctly!).  We also did a bit of organizing and found the missing pieces of the portable infant crib I had loaned.  It was a great morning.

 I had intended on joining the school Mass for Catholic Schools Week at one, but after lunch was inda belly, I had a sudden rush of exhaustion.  I barely made it back to the couch from the kitchen sink and the next two hours were spent in la la land.

Again, I was awakened by a phone call.  When I turned to answer it  I saw Kathy, my daughter from Missouri, sitting in the chair.  My eyes nearly popped right out of my head and I gave a squeal of glee.  I don't even remember who called, I sure hope it wasn't important.  The surprise of having her home and the foggy brain just waking up was a bad combination for my memory.

It wasn't long before Karen came.  My friend through Kathy had come to share our afternoon.  We three chatted in between all the phone calls that came in to wish me a "happy birthday."   One of them was my granddaughter, Lauren.  She sounded a bit down when she whispered her greeting.  Dean racked up double points by making sure I talked with her.  He explained why she was down.  She couldn't understand why they weren't jumping in their car and coming to my party.  (They live two hours away.)  Next year, little Lauren, next year.  My birthday will fall on a Sunday and I will invite you to a party. :) Soon, Rick was in, and it was time to head to the Texas Roadhouse.

Eric, Trela, Kile and Cavanaugh had planned to meet us there.  Hobbling through the crowd waiting for their tables I felt like Moses parting the Red Sea.  It sure was cool to have kind people offer me  a place to sit!  Unfortunately, Trela felt under the weather and opted to go home.  Kile and Cavanaugh arrived with their daddy proudly waving their handmade greeting cards.  Those two are steal my heart.  Cavanaugh, age 5, had decorated a paper with lots of hearts, candles, a birthday greeting and a picture of her and I with carrot cake.  Kile, age 8, also created a card with lots of candles and balloons and wrote me an original poem.  I asked his permission to share and it was granted.

Grandmie, Grandmie, your the best.
Your the best of all the rest.
You are fun, you like to share.
I hope you get off your wheelchair.
You soe(sew) and you can drive a car.
Playing with us is a golden star!
Grandmie, Grandmie, your the best,
Your the soewer to get us dressed.
Love, Kile.

It also included his artwork, a carrot cake with a 57 on it.  Can you guess my favorite flavor of cake?

Cavanaugh and I shared a meal of steak, baked sweet potato and vegetables.  She pulled her weight and ate almost as much as I did.  A friend from church, Lisa, was at work last night at the Roadhouse and made sure our waitress knew I was a birthday girl.  It wasn't long before the saddle appeared at our table and I mounted the brown leather.  After a mighty "Yee HAW!" I was given  a small chocolate cake for my birthday.  You should have seen Cavanaugh's eyes dance when she realized she could share the cake with Rick.  FYI - I'm allergic to chocolate.  Cavanaugh cut the cake, gave her Papa about a fourth of it, ate a few bites and promptly boxed the remaining cake.  The leftover bites of steak and sweet potato on her plate soon landed in another box, along with the few morsels on my plate.  Both boxes were claimed by her as she wrote her name on each.  It sure made me smile.

During the meal, Kile talked with me non stop, barely stopping to eat his favorite meal.  Cavanaugh sat next to me and snuggled as close as humanly possible.  I soaked their expressions of love deep into my being.

The best birthday ever ended with a good night hug from them and a trip home.  Who says getting older is bad?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Four Weeks and counting

Four weeks ago today I began the journey, Bye, Bye Bunions.  The twenty-eight days flew by with amazing speed.  I kept myself busy by writing, deconstructing items for their pattern or notions, and I created a few new items.  Daytime television was tolerable when I kept the channel set to "Do It Yourself" programing .  I did some reading, but did not like I thought I would.  All in all, it was a good four weeks.

Yesterday was my four week check up.  I left the office with a smile.  10% sure sounded like a wonderful number.  The hours and hours I kept my foot elevated paid off.  I was given permission to step on Lucie with about ten percent of my weight.   Ten percent? - think of it as a light kiss, like a peck on the cheek, I was told.  In an effort to illustrate the idea my doctor asked me,  "Did you ever kiss your  grandmother passionately?"
"I don't kiss and tell." I quipped.
He rolled his eyes, "I don't want to know anymore!"
"If you had said my father-in-law, I would have known what you meant,"  I grinned.

I was given instructions - heel walking is okay, and the ball of my foot should kiss the floor briefly.  Step.  Kiss.  Step.  Kiss.  No, I'm not a newlywed out for a walk with her new spouse.  I'm just a gal on medical leave recovering from bunion surgery.

After the appointment Rick took me to Hobby Lobby.  I looked for hand made paper, but I didn't find what I wanted.  I purchased acid-free glue sticks.  Scrapbooks with photos of our trip to Zimbabwe are next on my 'while I sit here' agenda.  The albums Jane and I purchased in a shop in Harare, Zimbabwe will be really cool when filled with animals from a-z that we saw.  I have a brown acid-free marker to write messages to the three grandchildren.  My goal - Valentine's day gifts.

Goal number two:  independence behind the wheel.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How a Sew-n-Sew spends her days after bunion surgery

I admit it - I have an addiction, and I am proud of it.

My favorite store to spend an hour or six is a fabric store.  My eyes feast as I browse the rows of rainbow colored silks, cottons, flannel and anything I can cut up and construct something from the pieces.  So I have spent several days sitting on the floor doing my thing with scissors and thread.  Later this week I will be moving to my workroom and will be thrilled to post photos of finished projects.

During the first days of my recovery I put my seam ripper to work. The bag on the right had given it's life to carry my daughter's computer to work each day.  I saw possibilities.  After several hours of tediously removing stitches I have all the hardware and lining for my next purse.  I even saved the inner pocket organizer!

My next item on the list "waited forever" was a beautiful hand crocheted doily, a gift from my brother and his wife several years ago.  After searching through frames at every thrift shop I entered for two years, I hit pay dirt.  It was the day I stopped at the St. Vincent de Paul with a few donations.  As I carried the bags and boxes in the crowded hallway used for incoming items I spied the perfect size frame sitting by the door.  "Is that for sale?" I asked the worker.

"Everything in here is for sale."   he replied.

"How much?'


"SOLD!"  and I smiled all the way back my car.  Unfortunately it waited an additional year for me to take the time to block and frame it.    It needed new fabric and a good dusting, I knew I could handle both.

Rick brought my ironing board and iron to the front room and placed it on the floor.  No legs were needed for the floor work I had planned.  I pressed the scrap of midnight blue velour.

I used the unscented liquid starch and saturated the cotton threads.  I blocked one section at a time until it was smooth, even and stretched to the proper size.  After twenty-four hours it was dry.  I found a matching polyester all purpose thread and hand stitched each point securely to the fabric.

Next on the agenda - stretch the fabric over the framing board and tack it securely.  Final step - hang it in my front room.  Well, that will wait until I have created the rest of the grouping and figured out how the wall arrangement.  My goal is to complete this before I go back to work.

Early in recovery I also made a pattern out of my best fitting blue jeans of all time.  My trusty seam ripper and I painstakingly picked the seams apart, pressed the jean pieces flat and now I have a pattern.  My old cutting board came out of hiding and took it's place next to the ironing board.  It wasn't long and my 'pattern' was pinned on denim fabric.  I am excited to sew my new best fitting jeans of all time.

Last, but not least, I created some small pillows for my darling granddaughters.  The fleece was a remnant from the scarves I gave them for Christmas.  I used black yarn and sewed them together using a basic blanket stitch and poly-fill stuffing.  The biggest challenge was pulling the needle through the fleece.  Next time I will use an awl and make tiny holes before I thread my giant needle with yarn.

I think I hear large wooden hearts calling my name begging to be covered with quilt batting, fabric, ribbon and hooks.  I guess they want to hold jewelry in the bedrooms of some of my favorite people.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

what not to do

 Thursday I felt pretty good.  And so I did the inevitable -  I overdid.  The morning was my usual schedule - removing myself from the couch to get something to eat or use the necessary room.   I puttered around the house off and on, just to get some exercise.

"There's a lot of white ink in the lines." Rick informed me after lunch, as he referred to my digital garment printer in my workroom. "I'm concerned about it."

I had intentionally stayed away from that part of our house.  I knew the draw to stay in there would be too strong for me to resist. The thought of a problem with a piece of my business equipment was enough to lay my resolve aside and roll to my workroom.  Weeks earlier I had finished my final order minutes before I left for the hospital for the "Bye, Bye, Bunions" surgery.  Before I left I replaced the ink cartridges with cleaning fluid and flushed the lines.  I noticed there was a bit of white in the lines so I left it on for auto cleaning to finish the job.

When I was able I checked on it and noticed several cleaning fluid lines needed a refill.  I quickly replaced them and hurried back to my perch on the couch.  "That should keep the Diva in line until I am better" I thought to myself as I plopped in my permanent spot.

Anna, the Diva
Rick's concern about the Diva brought me back to reality.  I perched my bum leg on a chair as I began the process of a thorough cleaning.  After an hour of frustrated exploring I discovered the problem.  In my haste to refill the fluid I had grabbed the wrong thing, white ink!  So instead of cleaning, Anna, as I call my machine, had white ink pulsing every eight hours through her veins. I immediately put in the correct solution, and flushed the lines. It was a quick solution to an avoidable problem, but I had been up for over an hour and a half.

As soon as I was satisfied with Anna's condition, Rick and I left to attend a visitation at a funeral home.  By the time my exhausted bones melted into the plaid of the couch, the big hand had passed twelve on the clock four times.

The doctor's words of warning resonated in my mind, "One day you will feel well and you may go shopping or something.  You'll feel great while you are out and will be up too long.  Later your foot will swell and you will realize it was too much.  Don't do it."  Oh, Doc, I wished I would have listened!  Sleep was hard to get that night with a throbbing foot.  Words spoken during that appointment were tattooed in my memory.

Friday was spent in apology to Lucie.   I retreated  to the behavior I exhibited the first week after surgery, glued to the couch.  I dozed periodically through out the day in an effort to reclaim the lost sleep.   Ice packs became my closest friends once again. Late in the afternoon I propped my foot on a stack of pillows  positioned with care on the floor and charted the A-Z photo books on my 'to do' list.
Self worth returned again as I accomplished one thing on Friday.